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Full text of "Autobiography of Charles Force Deems .."

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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




DEEMS, Edward atwlHi, clergyman; 6. 
Greensboro, N. -©rr^pr. 22, 1852; 5. Rev. 
Charles Force (D. D.) and Anna (Disosway) 

""D.; prep, ed'n Lawrenceville (N. J.) Sch.; 
grad. Princeton Univ., 1874, A. M., 1877, 
Princeton Tlieol. Sem., 1877; (Ph. D., Univ. 
City of New Yorl<:, 1890; D. D., Alfred 
Univ., 1904); m. Norfolk, Va., Apr. 17, 1884, 
Virginia Watkins Price. Licensed to preach 
by Presbytery of New York, 1877; pastor 
Central Presby'n Ch., Longmont, Colo., 
1877-9, Westminster Presby'n Ch., New 
York, 1880-9, 1st Presby'n Ch., Hornells- 
ville, N. Y., since 1890. Moderator Pres- 
bytery of New York, 1885; comm'r to Gen. 
Assembly from New York Presbytery, 1887. 
and from Steuben Presbytery, 1897; stated 
clerk and treas. Steuben Presbytery since 
1898. Author: Memoirs of Charles Force 
Deems, D. D., LL. D., 1897 R3; Holy Days 
and Holidays, 1902 F3; contb'r to periodicals. 
Address: Hornellsville, N. Y. 




y 



CHARLES FORCE DEEMS, D.D., LL.D. 



Digitized by tine Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/autobiographyofcOOdeem 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



OF 



CHARLES FORCE DEEMS ^ .^.c 

D.D., LL.D. ^ 

PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS, NEW YORK CITY 

AND PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE 

OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY 

AND 

MEMOIR 



BY HIS SONS 

Rev. EDWARD M. DEEMS, A.M., Ph.D. 

AND 

FRANCIS M. DEEMS, M.D., Ph.D. 




New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

Publishers of Evangelical Literature 



Copyright, 1897, by 
Fleming H. Revell Company 



THE NEW YORK TYPE-SETTING COMPANY 
THE CAXTON PRESS 



/3X 
J)3^A3 



IN FILIAL LOVE THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO 

OUR MOTHER 

WHOSE UNSELFISH DEVOTION, TENDER SYMPATHY, AND HELP- 
FUL ENCOURAGEMENT STIMULATED AND SUSTAINED 
OUR FATHER IN ALL HIS ASPIRATIONS 
AND ACHIEVEMENTS 



550186 



PREFACE 

IN preparing this volume, the editors have been impelled by 
filial love, indeed, but more especially by the conviction that 
Dr. Deems was a unique character, who lived through the 
larger part of the greatest century of the ages and did original 
work for society. We have been influenced also by the con- 
viction that when the reader sees how Dr. Deems rose to a 
sublime hfe by perseverance, industry, and faith in God, he 
too will be encouraged to make his life sublime. 

If the autobiographical notes appear at times too compla- 
cent, let all blame attach to the editors and not to Dr. Deems, 
for he wrote for his family only. In our work we have omitted 
his sermons and many letters and articles written for the press, 
because of the abundance of such materials, there being enough 
for another volume. Nevertheless, whenever we could tell the 
story of his life in his own language we have done so, thus 
striving to let him speak for himself. 

Being his sons, we have attempted no elaborate estimate of 
Dr. Deems's character and work, but have either quoted from 
the estimates of others or left this matter to the judgment of 
the reader. We take this opportunity to thank all who have 
sent us letters or other material, thereby aiding us in our 
work. 

We now send forth this book on its mission of love, trusting 
that it may enable our father, though dead, yet to speak. 

Edward M. Deems, 
hornellsville, n. y. 

Francis M. Deems. 
New York City. 
7 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Preface 7 



Part I. Autobiography 

CHAP. I. Childhood, 1820-30 17 

Birth — Earliest recollections — Parents — Named — The circus — 
Learning to spell— Summerfield's visit 

CHAP, II. Boy Life in Baltimore, 1830-34 . . . .31 
At the Osborn school — Wins a prize for declamation — First 
speeches — Temperance work — First poems published — Death 
of his mother — His conversion 

CHAP. III. College Life at Carlisle, 1834-39 . . .43 
Enters Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. — President Durbin — 
The faculty — Dr. Deems's classmates — Ruinous habits of study 
— Carlisle pastors — Escapes from drowning — His ideal of a 
college course — Closes his college career 

CHAP. IV. Professional Life Commenced, 1839-44 . . 56 
Offered a principalship — Goes to New York City — Impressions 
of New York — William Cullen Bryant — Teaching — Methodist 
celebrities — Occasional preaching — Introduced to Miss Disos- 
way — On the Asbury circuit, N. J. — Goes to North Carolina for 
American Bible Society — Accepts call to chair of logic and 
rhetoric in the University of North Carolina — The Holden poem 
— The faculty of the university — Married to Miss Disosway — 
Primitive traveling facilities — His courage tested by the students 
9 



10 CONTENTS 



Part II. Memoir 

PAGE 

CHAP. I. Teaching and Preaching, 1844-50 . . .93 

Birth of his first children— President Swain— Professor at Ran- 
dolph-Macon College— The "Southern Methodist Pulpit" — 
His views of slavery— Pastor at Newbern, N. C. — General Con- 
ference at St. Louis— Recollections of Bishop Kavanaugh 

CHAP. II. President of Greensboro College, 1850-54 . 108 
Moves to Greensboro, N. C. — Successful work as an educator — 
Advocates legal prohibition of the drink traffic — Receives the 
degree of D.D.— Called to Centenary College 

CHAP. III. Circuit-riding, 1855-56 121 

Resigns presidency of Greensboro College — Everittsville circuit 
— Ira T. Wyche— Life in Goldsboro — Experiences on the circuit 
—David B. Everitt—" Ghost Elliot"— "The Czar and the 
Babe" — Glenanna — "Twelve College Sermons" — Relations 
with the Masons and Odd Fellows — Prosecutor in a notable 
church trial— " The Annals of Southern Methodism "—In the 
lecture field 

CHAP. IV. The Wilmington Parish, 1857-58 . . • 139 
Appointed to the Front Street Church—" What I Know about 
Fishing " — Interesting letters — Delegate to General Conference 
at Nashville — Made pres'ding elder of Wilmington district 

CHAP. V. Teaching and Traveling, 1859-60 . . .153 

Moves to Wilson, N. C. — St. Austin's Institute— Labors as 
presiding elder — Visits New York— Meets Commodore Vander- 
bilt — Sails for Europe — Experiences abroad 

CHAP. VI. The War, 1861-65 169 

Returns from Europe— The breaking out of the war— Extracts 
from his diary — War experiences — Breaking up of the schools — 
Death of his son Theodore— Removal to Raleigh — Close of the 
war — Removal to New York City 

CHAP. VII. Settling in New York, 1866-70 . . .191 

The "Watchman"— Origin of the Church of the Strangers- 
Commodore Vanderbilt's gift of the church on Mercer Street — 
Formal opening of the Church of the Strangers on Mercer 
Street 



CONTENTS 11 

PAGE 

CHAP. VIII. The Church of the Strangers, 1870 . . 222 
The constitution of the church— Its ritual — Its organizations for 
work— Miss Cecile Sturtevant— The Sisters of the Stranger — 
Secret of the success of the Church of the Strangers 

CHAP. IX. Life in New York City, 1867-71 . . .236 

Home on West Thirty-fourth Street— " Every Month" — Mis- 
sion work at the " Tombs " — Friendship with Alice and Phoebe 
Cary formed—" Life of Jesus " — " Hymns for all Christians " — 
" No Room for Jesus " — Lectures — Extracts from his journal- 
Death of his father— Death of Alice Cary— Death of Phoebe 
Cary — Punctuality 

CHAP. X. Pastor and Author, 1872-76 . . . .251 

" Life of Jesus " published— Vanderbilt University founded— Dr. 
Deems's home in West Twenty-second Street— His home life 
and traits— Visits Florida— Reception on his return— Incident 
at Vanderbilt University dedication— " Locates " in New York 
— Unique church relations— His views of evangelistic work- 
Becomes editor of "Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine "—Com- 
modore Vanderbilt's last sickness — Death of Dr. Durbin 



CHAP. XI. Increasing Activity, 1877-79 . . . .270 
Poem: "Oh, to be Ready!" — Death of Commodore Vanderbilt 
and his funeral at the Church of the Strangers— Southern tour- 
Receives the degree of LL.D. — Healthful habits — His Saturday 
sleep— Visits Boston— Alumni oration at Carlisle : " Forty Years 
Ago"— Resigns editorship of the "Sunday Magazine "—The 
" Deems Fund " 

CHAP. XII. In Bible Lands, 1880 289 

A Sunday on the sea— In London— In Paris— Letters from 
Greece, Egypt, Palestine, etc.— Visits the Victoria Institute, 
London— Returns to America 

CHAP. XIII. The Institute of Philosophy, 1880-92 . . 308 
Reception by his church— History of the American Institute of 
Christian Philosophy— The "Deems Lectureship of Philosophy " 
in the University of the City of New York 

CHAP. XIV. Bearing Much Fruit, 1881-93 . . . .323 
Identified with many societies and institutions— Illustrations of 
his wit— Relations to the Young People's Society of Christian 
Endeavor— The " Soo Tribe " — Poem : "The Banner of Jesus " 
—Dr. Deems as a temperance advocate— Anniversary of twenty- 



12 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

one years of Dr. Deems's pastorate— The " Christian Worker " — 
" The Deems Birthday Book " — " A Romance of Providence " — 
"The Gospel of Common Sense" — "The Gospel of Spiritual 
Insight " — " Chips and Chunks for Every Fireside"— " How 
to Manage a Wife " — " My Septuagint " — Poem: "The Light 
is at the End "—His last sermon 

CHAP. XV. Euthanasia 339 

Intense toil— Death of Dr. Moran and General and Mrs. Gra- 
ham—Address of welcome to International Young People's 
Society of Christian Endeavor convention— Thrilling experience 
in the rapids of the St. Lawrence River— Stricken with paralysis 
—The year of illness— Euthanasia— The funeral— Laid to rest 
on Staten Island, in the Moravian Cemetery — Poem: "In 
Memoriam," by A. M. N. 

Appendix 353 

I. Outlines of Dr. Deems's Last Sermon -II. Funeral Sermon 
by the Rev. James M. Buckley, D.D.— III. Memorials of Dr. 
Deems 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Charles F. Deems 



Frontispiece 



Charles F. Deems at the Age of Nineteen, 
Preaching in New York 

The Church of the Strangers, Exterior 

The Church of the Strangers, Interior 



Facing page 65 



203 



IS 



' ~ f— 

V I) 



Copyrii?ht, .889, by Wilbur B. Ketcham 



PART I 
AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER I 

CHILDHOOD, 1820-30 

MY children desire some autobiographical sketches. As 
permitted I will write them ; the writing may do me good, 
and what is written may entertain my family. But most sin- 
cerely I do not believe that there will be a hundred people in the 
world who will have the least curiosity about my life fifty years 
after my death. 

I am told that I was born in the city of Baltimore, Md., on 
Monday morning, December 4, 1820. The house in which 
this event, so important to myself, occurred is still (1886) 
standing on Lower Water Street, near what is called the 
" Marsh Market." Baltimore was at that time a Httle city as 
compared with its present dimensions. My very earliest recol- 
lections were bounded by the market of which I have spoken 
and Light Street. 

One of the first things of which I have any recollection is 
that of being in love, of which I shall have more to say farther 
on in these notes. My second recollection is of attending a 
circus. My nurse was a colored girl of athletic strength but 
pecuhar gait, the latter owing to a dislocation of her left thigh. 
This circumstance did not seem at all to diminish either her 
strength or her celerity, while it did afford me a capital saddle- 
place. Her splendid name was Lucretia, which the family 
dreadfully abbreviated into " Creesh." She was entirely de- 

17 



18 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

voted to me, and, I believe, loved me intensely, unselfishly, 
and constantly. Her name for me was " Bebe," which, I sup- 
pose, was a softening of babe, a name too hard to be given to 
her little darling. Creesh was accustomed to snatch me up 
and toss me upon her hip, which I learned to mount with the 
agihty of a monkey, and then she would go tramping through 
the streets to any kind of gathering, show, meeting, or other 
collection of people which interested her. She had a negro's 
delight in spectacular performances, and cultivated an acquain- 
tance with all the showmen that visited the city. She seemed 
to have a free entree to all circuses but one. I recollect that 
upon that occasion, when she sailed up to the door hke an 
ostrich with her little Arab at her side, she was refused admit- 
tance without pay. She indignantly sailed away. " Me pay? 
You not let this chile go in that circus? No, sir ; I would not 
go in a circus so mean that would not let me go in without 
pay!" And she flew back home to tell the family of the in- 
dignity which had been put upon Bebe and her. She did it 
with a fiery eloquence that brought the whole family into roars 
of laughter. My aunt Juhet, with tears of fun running down 
her cheeks, said, " Do hush, Creesh ; you are as good as a circus 
yourself." But before this she and I had visited these shows, 
and once or twice I had been put upon the ponies to ride. I 
recollect that on one occasion, when I was making my round, 
the life was nearly frightened out of me by a loose monkey 
jumping on the pony behind me and striving to clasp me 
around the waist. 

The family, of which Lucretia formed no inconsiderable 
part, was small. It consisted of my father, my mother, and 
her half-sister, who was with my mother from her earliest 
married life. My father, George W. Deems, was of a Dutch 
family, that came from Holland and settled in Maryland 
somewhere between Baltimore and Reisterstown. The origi- 
nal name, De Heems, eventually was shortened into Deems. 



CHILDHOOD 19 

I have heard my father tell that his grandmother had spanked 
him soundly for speaking English, so perseveringly did she 
hold on to her Dutch. I never saw my grandparents on either 
side. I know nothing of my father's family above him, except 
that they were farmers and his mother was a Cole. If there 
be any great ancestral hne I know nothing of it, and, having 
had an honest, excellent, and revered father and, as far as I 
know, plain, honest, and decent Dutch grandparents, I do not 
care to go any farther back. I might go farther and fare 
worse. 

My mother's maiden name was Mary Roberts. She was 
the daughter of the Rev. Zachary Roberts, a Methodist min- 
ister, who lived on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and who 
was, I am told, a cousin of the late Robert Roberts, one of 
the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church. My mother's 
grandfather, James Roberts, was a farmer. 

When my father and mother were married, August 22, 181 1, 
they were young and poor, but giddy and gay, IMy mother 
was especially devoted to dancing. She was a woman of 
great natural endowments, which largely overcame her want 
of culture. In the early part of this century girls in her con- 
dition of Hfe had little schooling. But whatever she under- 
took she did thoroughly, and by employing what time she 
could command from her domestic duties in the reading of 
books she became exceedingly well informed and acquired a 
literary taste. She devoted herself to religion with that ear- 
nestness which distinguished her in every department of her 
activity. I have heard my father say that it shocked him 
greatly when my mother became religious. He thought it 
would cut them off from all the pleasures of their lives. He 
became very unhappy. But one day as he passed her door 
he heard his wife in earnest prayer to God, pleading as for the 
very life of her husband. It convinced him that true religion 
but deepened and heightened and purified the affection of a 



20 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

wife for her husband, and the thrilling tones of my mother's 
prayer so followed him that he determined to become reli- 
gious ; he began to attend church. One night, during a revival 
in a Methodist church in Exeter Street, Baltimore, he had a 
profound sense of his need of a Saviour, but, being surrounded 
by his companions in pleasure, he had not the courage to go 
forward to the "altar," as it was called, when the invitation 
was given to the penitents to present themselves. When one 
of the ministers came to him as he sat in his seat, betraying 
his agitation in his manner, and invited him to go and kneel 
with the other penitents, he made the excuse that he had 
promised himself he never would become rehgious in that way, 
and that to go forward now would be to tell a lie. The good 
old minister replied: "My young friend, count that promise 
among your other sins, and go forward now and have the 
forgiveness of all." The suddenness of the reply brought him 
to his feet, and he bowed with the other suppHants. But while 
engaged in prayer he heard a voice next to him which he 
seemed to recognize, and, looking up, beheld the very man 
whose presence in the assembly had kept my father from 
earlier doing his duty ; but when he had come to the point of 
discharging that duty his friend immediately followed. 

One of the first things my father and mother did after his 
conversion was to erect a family altar, and from that time 
until his death my father carefully held domestic services, 
which no business was allowed to interrupt. All visitors were 
invited to join in them, and at that home altar I have heard 
many of the most notable Methodist ministers and laymen 
ofifer prayer. 

In addition to my father and mother there was, as I have 
already stated, an aunt, Miss Juliet Roberts, my mother's 
half-sister, who came very early into the family, being younger 
than my mother. She remained while we kept together, and 
at the breaking up of the family went with me to Carlisle when 



CHILDHOOD 21 

I went to college. She was a devoted Christian maiden, and 
while I write these reminiscences (1886) she is still living in 
Baltimore, and spent last winter with me in New York, her 
plain little Methodist bonnet and general drab and Quaker 
appearance attracting attention to the exquisite, neat little lady 
wherever she went. My parents had had a daughter born to 
them. They named her Josephine, from my mother's admi- 
ration of the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She died in in- 
fancy. 

After an interval of nearly eight years I made my appear- 
ance. As children came so slowly in our family, my parents 
loaded me down with names. They called me Charles Alex- 
ander Force. I do not know what friend bore my first name ; 
it was some one with whom my parents were intimate. The 
Alexander was for a Mr. Alexander Gaddess, who dealt in 
marbles and monuments. He was an excellent man, at whose 
house I recollect to have taken tea frequently with my parents 
in my childhood. I visited him on the same spot when I was 
fifty years old. The other name came from the Rev. Manning 
Force, a Methodist minister, at one time exceedingly popular 
in Baltimore and Philadelphia. He was an extraordinarily 
large man. His manners were very pleasing, and that acquired 
him a reputation he could never have gained by his pulpit 
talents. He is said to have had two sermons, upon which he 
played variations. The divisions of one were " The World," 
"The Flesh," and "The Devil," and the divisions of the 
other, "The Father," "The Son," and "The Spirit." That 
may have been a joke perpetrated by one of his clerical 
brethren who could not make women and children love him 
as we all loved " Uncle Force." 

On this matter of naming children I have held forth else- 
where. Parents do not stop to think of the effect which a 
name may have. The earliest display of shrewdness upon 
my part which I can now recollect was in the change of my 



22 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

name. I did not come to be a large boy before I found that 
my initials spelled c-a-f, and I knew that if I entered school 
with those initials it would not be a week before some other 
boy would perceive the effect of the collocation of the letters, 
and that then there would begin a persecution to terminate 
only with my life. So as soon as I learned to write I signed 
my name, " C. M. F." I never told my parents the secret 
reason of the change, and never have spoken or written of it 
before the writing of these lines. I justified myself to the 
family by saying that Alexander was too big a name for a 
little boy, and, besides, that I thought " Uncle Force " would 
rather I should have his whole name. Their affection for him 
made this really quite an argument, and so I bore the name 
through college. A few years after I dropped the " M.," and 
so have passed through public life with three initials instead 
of four, and a hundred times have wished they were only 
two. 

I have only three recollections connected with my first resi- 
dence. That of the circus I have already narrated. I am 
not sure whether it preceded another event, namely, my falling 
in love. I was an exceedingly young man, wearing a little 
frock, because I had not attained to the dignity of pantaloons. 
She was a very lovely little lady, but, as almost always happens 
in the case of first love, she was several years older than her 
admirer. Her name was Sarah Ridgeway, and her father lived 
opposite our home. There was a garden attached to her 
house, and I used to persuade her to come out and sit there 
and talk with me. 

More than a half of a century has intervened between those 
little garden scenes and the time that I am writing, but I rec- 
ollect as distinctly as if it were yesterday how I sat by her side, 
how she held my little hand in hers and talked to me, and 
how my little heart filled almost to bursting with adoration of 
her charms, and how, because I could not yet speak plainly, 



CHILDHOOD 23 

I called her " Lallie." More powerful passions have swayed 
me since, and I have gained a more manly, profound, exalted 
affection for her who has been my fellow-traveler through 
more than half of life's journey ; but never did I have a 
sweeter, tenderer, truer sentiment than my infantile affection 
for " Lallie " Ridgeway. 

A third recollection comes to me. It was the beginning of 
my literary pursuits. As touching letters I was a slow and 
stupid child. At one time it was feared that I never could 
learn the English alphabet. ' When that was finally mastered, 
it was several years before I could at all spell, and then there 
was a long lapse of time between that and my discovery of 
the possibility of reading. Both these events are as plain to 
my memory as if they had been two epileptic fits. My father, 
my mother, and my aunt Juliet in turn showed me letters of 
all kinds and colors in books and newspapers and placards. 
At last it was determined to send me to a httle school, taught 
by an excellent lady, whose name was Oldham and who resided 
in a httle house on Upper Water Street, near Light Street. 
She was very kind, and I worked hard. At last I learned to 
spell a number of words of one syllable. I kept the precious 
secret to myself for weeks. At last I ascended to dissyllables. 

These steps in education were taken in Comly's spelling- 
book. How fresh in memory is my own copy! When I 
learned to spell "baker," "cider," etc., I could hold my secret 
no longer. My faithful Creesh was accustomed to take me to 
school and carry me home. One day when my enthusiastic 
pedagogue came for me, as we passed out of the gate I said, 
"Creesh, I can spell!" 

Her reply was, " Bebe, hush! you know you must not tell 
stories!" Poor thing! although she possessed no literary 
acquirements, she used to stand by in an agony of interest 
while the family attempted to teach me my letters. I can 
recollect to this day her look of mingled love and despair 



24 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

when she saw how unavaih'ng were the efforts of my father 
and mother and aunt Juhet to initiate "the sweetest child 
that ever was born " into the secrets of Hterature. No wonder 
that after such sights at home Creesh feh doubtful of such a 
huge statement as that " I could spell in two syllables." She 
exclaimed, " Bebe, you can't learn!" 

" Yes, I can, though," said I ; " you try me." She incon- 
tinently sat down on the curbstone and took me in her lap. 
I opened the speUing-book and turned to the place. On the 
left-hand page was the picture of a whale, on the right-hand 
rose the column of dissyllables; I put my left finger on the 
first and began to spell. Now the fun of the whole scene was 
that Creesh didn't know a capital " B " from a moss-rose, and 
she was the examiner of my literary acquirements. But Creesh 
had acute ears ; if it sounded all right she passed it ; so when 
I commenced "b-a-k-e-r," " c-i-d-e-r," at each letter her great 
eyes grew greater. She felt that that was really spelling " baker " 
and " cider," and the two words were very familar to Creesh. 
She used to go often to the baker's, and not infrequently she 
imbibed cider as a favorite beverage. I was about half-way 
through the third word when my black ostrich caught me up 
and, flinging me upon her hip, tore down the street like some- 
thing wild. Now it so happened that the entire family were 
assembled around a roll of carpet which was to be laid. 
Creesh burst in. She was accustomed to call the white mem- 
bers of the family by the names I called them. She went 
through the row like a flash. "Fazzer! muzzer! aunt Julet! 
Bebe kin spell!" 

" Hush, Creesh!" said my aunt Juliet, who was often very 
impatient. " Here you are with one of your yarns again." 

" I 'clare to gracious, he kin spell! You t'inks dis chile a 
fool, but he ain't none!" 

My mother, who was concerned about the laying of her 
carpet, carefully interposed, " Hush, Creesh, be quiet!" 



CHILDHOOD 25 

"But, muzzer, I ain't gwine to be quiet! Bebe kin spell, 
and you all fixin' the carpet when Bebe kin spell, and you 
ain't hearin' him! " 

My father said, " Son, have you learned to spell? " 

"Yes, sir!" 

" Well, now let us hear you begin." 

So I was placed upon the roll of carpet, and the family 
immediately grouped around me. 

I have stood a good many tests since that, but few things 
ever tried my nerves so much. I was afraid that in my ex- 
citement I should fail. That would put Creesh in trouble and 
spoil my reputation for veracity, and, behind it all, I had a 
feeling that if I failed now I never would be able again to 
spell in dissyllables. But I commanded myself enough to go 
down the entire " baker " and " cider " column. The gratifica- 
tion of my family was intense. My father has since that held a 
volume of my writings in his hands, but I do not think that I 
ever gave him greater delight. Before the admiring eyes of 
my fond mother and aunt there stretched vistas of great literary 
acquirements for the beloved boy, and I can hardly keep the 
tears back as I now recall the face of poor Creesh. Her eyes 
stretched till the whites were startling to behold ; her mouth 
opened almost from ear to ear, and the delight of her soul was 
so great that it seemed as though she would grow frantic. 
After the home triumph she caught me up and sailed round 
the whole neighborhood, exhibiting me at every house as the 
Bebe who could "spell in two syllables." 

While I was still quite young my parents moved to Upper 
Water Street. It was a pleasant residence. I have very few 
memories of what happened there, but there are a few things 
important. I remember that I still sucked my thumb, and the 
family had great difficulty in breaking me of the habit. I remem- 
ber my chagrin, after I had been thought to have stopped, at 
my mother looking out from the window and seeing me as I 



26 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

sat in the door, having for the moment resumed my old com- 
fort. Her upbraiding me for want of firmness in resisting the 
temptation stung me to the very quick. 

I recollect also that it was at this residence that, when some 
money had been given me, I failed to resist the temptation to 
make a purchase of something good to eat on a Sunday after- 
noon. The scorpion lashes of my conscience for this act I 
shall never forget. Mingled with them also was the shame of 
having been detected, and by my mother. Her good opinion 
was my heaven ; she stood to me a representative of the purity 
as well as the providence of God. My mental suffering, and 
the correction which she administered, effectually cured me of 
all Sunday purchases, and from that day to this I have never 
bought anything on Sunday except what seemed to be neces- 
sary medicines. 

I have another remembrance of this residence. There was 
high political excitement. Andrew Jackson and John Quincy 
Adams were candidates for the Presidency. I was a strong 
Adams boy, just because I had heard ugly campaign stories 
about General Jackson. I could not read. I was too small 
to attend any meeting. My recollection is confined to certain 
noises made in the streets at night. 

I also distinctly recollect that the watchmen of the city used 
to cry the hour. Sometimes I would be awakened and a great 
awe would come upon me as I heard the watchman cry, " It 
is — ho! — three o'clock, Sunday morning! All's well!" That 
seemed to be a municipal regulation so that the wakefulness of 
the watchmen of the city might be secured, for if a watchman 
failed to make his cry any household on his beat could report him. 

The most beautiful remembrance I have of this residence 
is a visit of John Summerfield to my mother. In i860 I em- 
bodied that remembrance in a letter to my dear friend, the 
Rev. Dr. Sprague, for his "Annals of the American Pulpit." 
As I cannot repeat it any better, I insert the letter here: 



CHILDHOOD 27 

"Wilson, N. C, March i6, i860. 

" My dear Sir : Among the very first of my recollections of 
men, and certainly of Methodist ministers, is of John Summer- 
field. Amid all subsequent studies, travels, labors, joys, and 
sorrows there has followed me the serene image of his winning 
manners and his extraordinary face— a face so full of strange 
beauty and a suppressed pain. None of the extant portraits 
I have been able to examine presents that remarkable face as 
it has dwelt in my memory. One is so much softer and more 
girhsh, and another is, especially about the mouth, so much 
coarser, than the original. The expression of a tugging pain, 
which he seemed to be perpetually holding down by the main 
force of his will, as a man would hold a wolf which he was 
barely able to master, kept my childish heart in awe before the 
feeble, strong man. And yet something about him so drew 
my heart that all toys and sports would be left at his approach, 
that I would find myself unconsciously at his side. It seemed 
so strange that a man whose name was in all mouths, and 
whose wondrous utterances in the pulpit, although beyond my 
comprehension, I could not fail to see producing great effects 
upon the grown people around me and exerting a magnetism 
over my heart, could be playful ; and yet, when a blister was 
drawing on his chest, I have known him to sit at the fireside 
of my father's house and for a quarter of an hour at a time, 
with raillery and badinage, exert himself to arouse me to a 
controversy and to provoke me to give ' as good as he sent.' 
But he always had the upper hand, for though, when some- 
times stung, I was willing to reply perhaps impertinendy, I 
could never look into his eyes, which had a peculiar and not 
always angehc expression, without dropping the weapons of 
my childish repartee. 

" It was my blessed mother who drew him to our house, 
and who has since rejoined him in the city of our God. Her 



28 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

peculiar, sympathetic nature created a strong tie between them, 
and her determined will and strong faith made her such a fe- 
male friend as Summerfield always needed and always appre- 
ciated. She was like an older sister to Summerfield, and, I 
believe, made strong prayers for him daily and almost hourly. 
For a time, while in Baltimore, he had his lodgings with Dr. 
Baker, I think, on the corner of Charles and Lexington streets. 
On one occasion I accompanied my mother to see him, after 
he had been confined several days. Not being allowed to go 
into the sick-chamber, I was left to amuse myself with a 
number of toys in the sitting-room below. It seemed a long 
time before my mother returned, and I can now distinctly 
recall her expression of sorrow for the sufferings of her friend, 
and the elevated, saintly joy which the interview seemed to 
have afforded her. Thus upon young and old he exerted the 
power of his pure spirit. I heard him preach in what the 
children of my acquaintance were accustomed to call 'The 
Round Church,' on the corner of Sheaf and Lombard streets. 
On this occasion his strength failed before the completion 
of his discourse, and he dropped his handkerchief as a signal 
for the uprising of the orphan children, whose cause he was 
pleading. The remembrance of his words and tones, his 
gracefulness, his exhaustion, his lovingness, all united with the 
silent standing up of the children to create a most thrilling 
sensation.* 

"The last time I can recollect having seen him in public 
was at the preaching of a sermon in Dr. Breckenridge's church, 
in Eastern Baltimore Street. A large body of military was 
present. I recall not a word of the discourse, and only have 
in my remembrance the contrast between the helmeted and 

* Upon reflection, I think I may have confounded two things. I heard 
the sermon, and I also heard Summerfield preach in that church, which be- 
longed, I believe, to the Baptist denomination ; but whether I heard that 
sermon in that church I do not so well remember. 



CHILDHOOD 29 

uniformed soldiery and the serene, placid, pure young preacher, 
who stood up amid them, setting the story of the cross to the 
music of his intonations, and telhng it with the ardor of his 
elevated and holy enthusiasm ; and I remember how deeply I 
felt his irrepressible devotion to the ministry, by a remark of 
my mother as we were threading our way out through the 
crowd : ' Dear fellow, three blister-plasters on him, and he 
talking so like an angel ! ' 

"The most vivid picture before me is Summerfield's last 
visit to my father's house. After an earnest conversation with 
my mother about matters of religion and the church, which I 
could not understand, he turned to me, and commenced, in 
his playful way, to get up a battle. ' And, Charlie, what is 
your middle name?' 'Why, Uncle Summerfield, I told you 
long ago, and you ought to remember.' ' Oh, I am such a 
forgetful fellow, please tell me again.' And I told him again. 
' Frosty ! Frosty ! What a cold name for a warm boy ! ' 
' Not Frosty, Uncle Summerfield, not Frosty ; you know as 
well as I do that it is not Frosty.' ' Do tell me again! Sister 
Deems, am I growing old and deaf? ' And so for a long time 
we had it, and I never could determine whether he really did 
misunderstand me, or was merely making game of me. At 
last he dropped it all, and caUing me to him, told me that he 
was going away, perhaps never to return, and that he wished 
to pray with my mother and me before we parted. We knelt, 
my mother at her own chair, and I beside Mr. Summerfield's. 
His intonations and emphasis were always peculiar to my ear, 
and especially on this occasion. I paid little attention to the 
prayer until it became personal to the family. He prayed for 
my father, and then with what tender, loving tones for my 
mother, that, whereas to him, a stranger in a strange land, she 
had been such a comfort, so her boy might, everywhere in life, 
find friends to sustain and console him. And then he interlaced 
his fingers, and bringing his hand hke a band over my head. 



30 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

he prayed most impressively and especially for me, that God 
would call me to the work of the ministry. Up from under 
these hands I peeped, child as I was, to see how he looked, 
and down into my heart there sank a picture whose hues are 
as sharp and whose coloring as fresh this day as they were the 
day it took its place in the gallery of my memory. Just in 
that picture, and with that look, I have preserved Summerfield 
to myself. It was a look of awe, of gratitude, of exaltation, 
and of tenderness. He seemed so full of the thought of the 
solemnity of talking with God, and the pain of parting from 
a cherished friend, of gratitude to God for putting him into 
the ministry of Jesus, and an appreciation of the grandeur of 
that work, and a feeling of tenderness to all who had loved 
him therein, and a sense of the responsibility of invoking a 
blessing even upon a boy ! The face was lovely and great and 
luminous. 

" He arose, and with humid eyes left us, never to return. 
And my mother sat and wept. And I was thoughtful. I did 
not like that prayer, dear Dr. Sprague. I did not say in my 
heart, ' Amen ; ' f or I did not want to preach the gospel with 
blister-plasters on my back and breast. And in after years, 
when the question of the ministry came home to my con- 
science, I had great disturbance lest my call might be only 
from Summerfield and not also from my God. 

" I have written these paragraphs to present an account of 
the impression this blessed young minister of Jesus made upon 
women and children, that being, in my humble judgment, the 
best criterion known to men of the real character of their 
fellows. 

" I am, my dear sir, most sincerely yours, 

"C. F. Deems." 



CHAPTER II 

BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE, 183O-34 

From some personal recollections, dated May 10, 1839, written just be- 
fore leaving college, the following extracts are made. 

IN May of 1 830 my mother and myself paid a visit to Philadel- 
phia, to the family of the Rev. Manning Force, from whom 
I received my middle name. Being only nine years of age, 
of course I remember but little of the city, and need only record 
the recollection I have of the Rev. Dr. Sargeant and his kind 
family. The doctor has since deceased. He was struck with 
paralysis while preaching. While in Philadelphia my mother 
felt the first symptoms of the disease which terminated in her 
death. What that disease was I have never been able to 
learn. 

On my return from Philadelphia I was placed in the school 
of the Rev. V. R. Osborn. I can never forget the love which 
I entertained for this gentleman ; mild and benignant, he won 
my esteem, and inspired in me an affection for himself and 
his family which will last forever. He was in Baltimore some 
time before he brought on his family from New England, and 
he treated me as kindly as though I had been his son. This 
familiarity with our family attached him to us all, and I looked 
upon him more as a relative than a schoolmaster. 

[A break in the autobiographical notes occurs at this point, 
but the substance of the incident whose close is narrated in 
the next paragraph we give from our recollection of Dr. 

31 



32 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Deems's account of it. It appears that in a hall in Baltimore 
there was held a public competition, by boys from the schools 
of the city, for a gold medal to be awarded to the youth who 
should deliver the best declamation. Among other competitors 
appeared Charles Deems, of Mr. Osborn's school. When his 
name was called, with great inward trepidation he stepped 
forward and delivered his declamation with all the energy and 
oratorical effect that he could command. — Ed.] 

With the closing words, " A patriot Tell, a Bruce of Ban- 
nockburn," I sank back to my seat perfectly exhausted. The 
judges communed for a few minutes, when the president of the 
board announced that, with but one single opposing vote, I 
was declared victor. The loud expression of congratulation 
which greeted the announcement was the sweetest music that 
has ever fallen on my ear. From the hall I hastened to the 
embrace of my mother, who was detained by sickness, and the 
excitement of the afternoon confined me to my bed. My 
medal bears date " June 5, 1832, aged 1 1 years and 6 months." 
A certificate dated July 4, 1832, signed '' V. R. Osborn, princi- 
pal," and " E. G. Welles, professor of rhetoric and history," at- 
tests that the " honorable board " gave me preference at the 
second trial also. 

During the following fall my time was occupied with my 
studies and writing. I was quite a hard student. I would 
generally be up with my father before daybreak, closely applied 
to my books. My parents indeed seemed to fear that this 
intense application was injuring my health. The first item 
which I have journalized was my first speech delivered at a 
Httle Sunday-school two or three miles from the city, at a place 
called Hart's factory. This was the commencement of my 
career in original speaking, and was of course very simple, even 
with the assistance of my father's experience. 

I have the memorandum of a little incident which I will 
record, although not of any peculiar interest but by the asso- 



BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE 33 

ciation it calls up. It is my father's preaching in one of the 
graveyards of the city on the Sabbath evening of May 5, 1833. 
I remember the beautiful afternoon, the solemn service, the 
affected assembly. In that graveyard was a beautiful spot 
where had been interred an infant, and I have often gazed on 
its fresh grass and secluded situation and wished that I might 
be permitted to lie there. Melancholy was one of my first 
companions. 

On the nth of the following June I delivered an address 
at Elk Ridge, Md., on the subject of "Temperance"; on the 
14th of the following July I spoke at Whatcoat Chapel on 
"The Advantages of Sunday-schools"; and on the 28th of 
the same month I delivered an address before the Juvenile 
Temperance Society, in Wesley Chapel. (Memorandum. — 
Father presented me with the watch which I have at present, 
August 7, 1833.) 

About this time I heard the Rev. John N. Maffit preach for 
the first time. Eloquence has ever thrilled me with most 
peculiar feelings, and for nights I listened with rapt attention 
to his discourses. I find passages in my journal, and particu- 
larly anecdotes, which he was so peculiarly felicitious in re- 
lating, which were written before the excitement his sermons 
produced had entirely subsided. There is a witchery and 
eloquence for which I am not able to account, and yet he 
holds his congregations almost perfectly entranced. 

In September of 1833 my father and I made a temperance 
excursion to Elkton, Md. I notice this incident as marking 
a happy period of my hfe. I was here called before the public 
on several occasions, and formed during my visit a Juvenile 
Temperance Society. (My whole soul was devoted to the 
temperance cause about that time, and it is even now a cause 
in which my affections are enlisted. I ever after looked upon 
this society with the eyes of peculiar regard. What has since 
been its fate I am unable to tell.) 



34 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

In October, 1833, the missionaries Wright and Spaulding 
left America for Liberia in Africa. During their stay in Bal- 
timore I became acquainted with them, and became peculiarly 
attached to the first-named gentleman. Indeed, when I en- 
tered the parlor, where I had an introduction to him, he singled 
me from a large company which had come to pay their respects 
to these devoted men, and taking me in his lap, he held me to 
his bosom as a near relative. He gave me his address on 
paper, which sacred relic I still preserve, and insisted on our 
corresponding. On board the steamboat, when it was about 
to leave the city to carry them to the vessel, he took me in his 
arms and wept over me as over a beloved brother ; indeed, so 
greatly were we moved that a gentleman standing near inquired 
of my father if we were not brothers. Alas, the eloquent, the 
zealous, the devoted Wright sleeps beside his beautiful wife in 
the hot soil of Africa! I pray Heaven that if it is consistent 
with divine providence I may be permitted to stand by the 
grave of my beloved and lamented Wright, and preach " the 
unsearchable riches of Christ." 

About this period my father gave up his business by selling 

off his stock in trade to a man by the name of . My 

father's being kept out of his just dues at this time has been 
probably the whole cause of my passing through college with 
such contracted means, and the many heartburnings and 
miseries which poverty will ever bring upon a student. Oh, 
if there is a situation truly to be deplored, it is that of an 
enthusiastic youth burning with desire for knowledge and yet 
under the galling restraint of a limited supply of means! From 
my first recollections I can recall the remembrance of the in- 
tense interest which I took in my father's business, and the 
great pain which the perplexity of his concerns caused me, 
A slight incident will illustrate them : I was once returning 
from the dentist's with my mother, weeping bitterly for the 
pain caused by the extraction of two teeth. To soothe me as 



BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE 35 

much as possible she proposed to stop in a book-store where 
my father had an account and purchase me a toy book. I 
would not consent to this, for I remembered that I had heard 
my father sigh on the previous evening when making a calcu- 
lation of the amount of his notes which would be due that week. 
As young as I was, I would not permit mother to add the small- 
est amount to the weight which rested already upon my father. 

In October of this year I again visited Elkton to stir up my 
little temperance society and to cultivate the friendship which 
I had formed for several families in that place. Toward the 
close of 1833 I commenced to correspond with the "Temper- 
ance Herald," a publication of some interest when first started, 
but which has now dwindled into an insignificant sheet. This 
was my first appearance in public print. The articles arrested 
the attention of the editor of the " Mechanic's Banner," a 
literary paper, who requested me to let him have some few 
articles. I wrote for him a series of little papers under the 
title of the " Pretended Beggar," and, indeed, gave him occa- 
sional articles until he left the city. 

Sabbath, February 9, 1834, I delivered a speech at Reisters- 
town, Md., on the subject of Sabbath-schools. 

In May of this year the first pieces of poetry I ever pub- 
lished made their appearance in the " Mechanic's Banner." 
Previously to this my reading in poetry had not extended 
beyond the hymn-book of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
and a few stray pieces of newspaper rhyme. 

About this time I find in my journal that I became very 
much attached to Virgil's ^neid, and to this day I prefer it 
to all the classics with which I have become acquainted. His 
BucoHcs are also favorites of mine. Never having read his 
Georgics, I cannot tell how I should be pleased with them ; 
not much, however, I presume, and the agricultural terms 
cannot well be appreciated. I have read some books of the 
.<Eneid over several times. 



36 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

The first volume of poetry I remember to have read was 
Moore's " Lalla Rookh," in my freshman year.* 

The year 1834 was an eventful year for me. Its earliest 
days looked in upon the room in which my mother was fight- 
ing a long battle with death. There has never been a day 
since in which I could not call up most vividly the circum- 
stances attending the last hour. We had been a small family 
from my first recollection, just four of us: father and mother, 
her half-sister, — whom 1 always called "Aunt Juliet," — and 
myself. My training had devolved upon my mother and my 
aunt. I have always felt the evil of being an only child. I 
am frequently humiliated by a sudden sense of a selfishness 
which would have been corrected if I had been reared with 
brothers and sisters younger or older than myself. And then 
I also suffered from that other trouble which besets an only 
child, the trouble of being exceedingly much raised ; the hav- 
ing two women with scarcely anything else to do but to devote 
themselves to this one individual boy. The being the only 
son of two mothers, one an invalid and the other an old maid, 
was a most trying position. 

My mother was a woman of strong character; she ruled 
wherever she went, and had unusual natural abilities, with the 
very slight school culture of that day. She was a woman of 
prodigious faith and great gifts in prayer. I have heard her 
pray till strong men bowed their faces to the very carpet on 
the floor. The remembrance of her prayers is such that I can 
never speak of them without feeling that tingling in my blood 
which one feels while hearing thrilling eloquence ; and it has 
been fifty-two years since that voice was stilled. Her inva- 
lidism extended over a long period ; indeed, I am told that she 
never was well after the hour of my birth. Her disease caused 
so much pain that the physicians administered great quantities 
of laudanum. It became so costly that when I was eleven 
* End of extracts from recollections, dated May 10, 1839. 



BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE 37 

years of age I was taught how to make the laudanum, and 
would buy the spirits and the opium in quantities. I recall 
now the very appearance of the knife with which I was accus- 
tomed to cut the opium into small pieces before putting it into 
the bottle of spirits. I do not believe that I have tasted opium 
for half a century ; but some of it would stick to my fingers, 
and I frequently took it off with my teeth. I look back to 
that experience with wonder that I totally escaped addiction 
to either alcohol or opium. The effect of this drug upon my 
dear sick mother was necessarily to obscure her fine intellect 
and strong natural spirits, so that very frequently she was 
under a cloud, very frequently irritable, very frequently feeling 
as if her trust in God were gone, and she could read no portion 
of her title to a mansion in the skies. Then at other times her 
pain was frightful. I have had my hand crushed in hers, and 
my arm held tightly, so tightly as to exhibit the marks of my 
mother's fingers. But my devotion to her never ceased, and 
it has been a comfort to all my after life that the assurance 
has never failed me of my being a comfort to her up to the 
last moment of her mortal life. She who in former years had 
been such a buoyant, triumphant Christian had, during the 
latter years, been in heaviness through temptation that at 
the last moment she should lack dying grace. But God was 
better to her than all her fears. When the last came I was 
not a Christian, and this was a real sorrow to her; but she 
died beHeving that her only son would live to be a useful 
Christian man, and expressed that belief in the most decided 
tones. She had always been fond of Pope's poetry, and her 
last intelligible articulations were made in striving to repeat 
Pope's version of the Roman emperor's little poem. She 
spoke it gaspingly : 

" Vital spark of heavenly flame, 
Quit, oh, quit this mortal frame ; 
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying — 
Oh the pain, the bliss, of dying! 



38 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" Cease, fond nature, cease thy strife, 
And let me languish into life!" 

Then for some time there was silence ; she had almost ex- 
ceeded her strength. My recollection is that she missed the 
next verse in the well-known poem, but evidently her mind 
was going over the sentence. She began again, gasping at 

each word : 

" The world recedes, it disappears, 
Heaven — heaven — heaven — " 

She could not get farther, she looked into our eyes. My aunt 
added the next line : 

" Opens on our eyes." 

My mother smiled, nodded her head, and closed the eyes into 
which we had been gazing, to open the eyes of her spirit on 
the vision of God. 

The year 1834 was also remarkable in my history as the 
date of the beginning of my church-membership, the breaking 
up of our little family, and my departure for college. I had 
always been a serious boy, and really desired to be religious. 
The death of my mother brought a crisis in my experience; 
I desired to live with her forever. I had promised to meet 
her in heaven. I was not a vicious boy ; very few external 
violations of the moral law had marked my short history, and 
yet I felt that there was need of some act of consecration 
which should separate me from the world, and that for my 
own spiritual purification and growth there was needed some- 
thing to be received into my heart. This led me to listen 
carefully to religious conversations, to seek to hear practical 
preaching, and to find out what that " change of heart " meant 
of which I heard the Methodist brethren speak so much. If 
my mother had been living, as she was a few years before, in 
the fullness of her powers, and I had opened my heart to her, 
how she might have led me! As it was, I remembered many 



BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE 39 

of her teachings, and think that I was very much affected by 
her spirit, but I did not know how to come out " on the Lord's 
side." 

My father and my aunt, as I afterward learned, were deeply 
solicitous for my condition, and became more anxious as I 
became more reserved ; and I became more reserved as my 
religious exercises deepened in my soul. I have since learned 
how natural this is, and know how to appreciate the dehcacy 
of the soul of a young person who shrinks from talking about 
that which concerns his innermost being and which really is 
indescribable. 

But through the spring I had fixed upon an approaching 
camp-meeting which was to be held in the summer, about 
foiurteen miles from the city, on what was called the Reisters- 
town road. When the time of preparation had arrived the 
question of our going came up in our little circle, and my father 
observed that he did not think he would go ; he could see no 
good of it. This startled me ; it seemed to be taking away my 
day of grace. I made a quick expression of desire that we 
should go, and he said to me, " Son, you have had so many 
religious opportunities that I am afraid to go to camp-meeting 
with you, for if you pass through those exercises unconverted, 
you will come out harder than you are now." I said, " O 
father, do go ! " and I suppose there must have been more in 
the expression of my face than in my words, as I learned the 
next day that we were to attend camp-meeting, and afterward 
learned from my father that he saw in my countenance that 
something unusual was passing in my mind. 

The camp-meeting of that day was very different from things 
that bear that name in this. There were no two- and three- 
story cottages with bay-windows and balconies, with carpeted 
floors, pictured walls, and swinging cages of birds. Every tent 
was really a tent — canvas put up on poles. Before the en- 
campment there were no signs of it, and, but for the fires and 



40 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

the clearings for the " stand," as it was called, and the arbor, 
there were no signs after the encampment departed. Two or 
three city churches would unite, and their officers would take 
charge of the whole affair. Companies went out on wagons, 
with their tents, their bedding, and their cooking utensils. 

On one such occasion we started up the turnpike. We 
passed quite near the place where my father was reared. That 
neighborhood had its ghost-stories, as every neighborhood has. 
My father had told me several, to all of which there was a 
rational explanation. But there was one which none of us 
could ever explain ; it was as follows : 

Within a few rods of the turnpike a gentleman had, in the 
days of my father's boyhood, undertaken to build a dwelling. 
Before it was finished, the inner walls, however, being plastered, 
my father and some other urchins saw a light in the house one 
night, and went to its open door, where they beheld an old 
hag, who was considered a sort of witch in the neighborhood, 
sitting and warming herself beside a very large fire made of 
shavings, blocks, and other light pieces of wood. The flame 
roared up the chimney, and the old crone was holding her 
hands toward its genial warmth. When the boys came near 
the door and saluted her she rose with a stick to drive them 
off. Her rising was enough, for they fled with terror. Next 
morning, when the sun was shining and the workmen had re- 
turned, the boys came back and examined the fireplace. It 
was absolutely clean, the bricks and the mortar which joined 
them being fresh and free from any mark of fire. This was a 
great puzzle to the boys, and no explanation of it ever was 
reached, but the house was always uninhabitable. A number 
of families had tried to live in it and had failed ; after a night 
or two they were flung from their beds. The owner had never 
been able to occupy it himself nor to keep a tenant, and, after 
a few efforts, the house came to have such a bad fame that it 
could neither be sold nor given away. All this I had heard 
years before. 



BOY LIFE IN BALTIMORE 41 

We were approaching the house in the gloaming, and I 
determined to try the strength of my nerves ; so I jumped 
from the wagon, let it pass the house a little distance, and 
then entered. It was an old-looking house now, for the 
weather had beaten through it. There was Hght enough to 
see. I boldly walked to the middle of the room, out of which 
stairs ascended to the second story. At the turn of the stairs 
I laid my hand upon the open floor above, and thought I 
would simply draw myself up and look in. All at once all the 
ghost-stories that I had ever heard in my life rushed upon my 
mind, I heard the dying sounds of the retreating wheels as 
they passed away. It flashed upon me that some mischievous 
or wicked persons might use the bad fame of the house to 
carry out their improper designs upon travelers, and that so 
unnerved me that I dropped to the floor and ran after the 
wagon. 

I have never had any belief in ghosts, and have always gone 
into weird places, sometimes visiting graveyards at midnight just 
to see if I could do it. And yet I do beUeve from that early 
experience and subsequent experiments, whatever may be the 
state of a man's logical understanding toward the whole sub- 
ject of ghosts, in the bravest of boys and of men there is 
something in what they have heard which so affects the ima- 
gination as in some measure to unnerve them. 

The camp-meeting was held on what the Baltimore Meth- 
odists of that day were accustomed to call " Clark's Old 
Ground." In the personal recollections (1839) already re- 
ferred to, I find the following record of my experience: 

On the bright and beautiful morning of August 1 8th— can 
I ever forget the scene? — I accompanied a young friend to an 
adjoining hill. I there erected an altar of stone, and, bowing 
down, I resolved never to rise until God should speak peace 
to my soul. My cries for mercy drew several persons to the 
spot. I wrestled for a long time. I had laid down a partic- 
ular plan in which I wished to receive the blessing, but when 



42 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

I gave myself up entirely to God, then he listened to my 
prayer, and answered it to the joy and comfort of my soul. 
It did not come, as I had supposed, like the rushing of a 
mighty wind, but it was a still, small voice, whispering, " Peace." 
I knew not how long I was on my knees, but was so earnestly 
engaged as not to know that I was surrounded by strangers. 
When I arose the fields seemed greener, the air sweeter, and 
the heaven itself brighter, and my soul was filled with love. 



CHAPTER III 

COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE, 1 834-39 

MY mother's death had made a great break in our circle. 
My father had been a local preacher in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, and would have entered what is called the 
itinerancy but for my mother's health. When she was gone 
I was still left with my aunt, the half-sister who had reared 
me, and who was devoted to me then as she is now (1886), 
and who could not be separated from me. For months my 
father was in doubt as to what course to pursue. I was not 
quite ready for college. His losses in business and the ex- 
penses of my mother's sickness necessitated the consideration 
of economy. It was just at this juncture that Dickinson 
College, in Carlisle, Pa., passed over from the hands of the 
Presbyterians to the hands of the church in which my father 
was a minister. The Methodists reorganized the college with 
great vigor. At that time there was in the city of Baltimore 
a man of extraordinary physical and intellectual endowments, 
the Rev. Stephen George Roszell, who had great influence 
over my father. He came to see us. He insisted upon my 
going to Dickinson College, and met the difficulty of my lack 
of preparation by the statement that a most excellent prepara- 
tory school was to be organized in connection with that college. 
He increased the inducements by offering to take my father 
and myself to Carlisle in his own carriage. 

43 



44 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

It was determined that we should go to the college to hear 
the new president's inaugural. To me the ride was one of 
very great interest. Before the existence of railroads one saw 
the country so much better in carriages and on foot. This 
time we rode ; but in one of my college vacations afterward, 
when I wanted to revisit my native city, my funds were so low 
that I walked the distance to within twelve miles of Baltimore, 
out to which point a railway had been made. So from Balti- 
more, on that old Reisterstown road, up to Carlisle in the 
beautiful Cumberland Valley, I once knew the whole road. 

In the summer of 1834 my father took me to Carlisle and 
entered me in the preparatory school of Dickinson College. 
This institution, as I have already stated, had just passed from 
the hands of the Presbyterians into the control of the Metho- 
dist Church. It was intended to do for the Methodists of the 
Middle States what Wesleyan University was accomplishing 
for New England. The Baltimore and Philadelphia confer- 
ences of the Methodist Church had it especially in charge, 
and they entered upon the work of rehabilitation with great 
zeal and managed it with marked ability. Perhaps no college 
in America ever started with a more able faculty. The Rev. 
Dr. John Price Durbin, who had had experience in the colleges 
of Kentucky, was called to the presidency. He was an ex- 
traordinary man in many particulars. As a pulpit orator he 
had attracted the attention of the nation while traveling for 
the other colleges with which he had been connected. In 
person he was sHght. His face was not handsome, neverthe- 
less it was peculiarly attractive. The life of it was in an eye 
of remarkable expression. When calm it was sweetly benevo- 
lent, but when excited it seemed really to flash. His sermons 
very frequently dwelt on speculative themes. In the beginning 
of their delivery there was such a drawl that when he went to 
strange places persons who knew nothing of the fame of the 
preacher would frequently leave the church in disgust while 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE 45 

he was reading the morning lessons or the hymns or making 
the opening prayer. He would drag on sometimes for fifteen 
or twenty minutes, making preliminary statements, searching 
the mind for some startling thought. The expression of his 
countenance in the beginning was that of a man intently in- 
terested in what he had in hand, as if preparing to do some- 
thing startling with it. Suddenly, without premonition, Ufting 
himself to his height, he would flash the climacteric sentence 
on his audience. A shock from an electric battery could not 
have produced more marked effect. Sometimes the whole 
audience would be startled into a movement forward. 

I remember that in one of his sermons he administered such 
a shock that, sitting in the gallery of the church, I was com- 
pelled to run into the street to avoid outright screaming. 
After my graduation, when he had quit the college, I went to 
his church in Philadelphia on one of the hottest days of sum- 
mer — and no place on earth that I have ever visited can 
become hotter than Philadelphia. The house was packed. 
Nearly every one slept, except while standing to sing, and 
many of the congregation were too much overcome to do that. 
It was one of those dull, hot days when it seems impossible 
to keep awake. It was one of the four times in my life in 
which I had slept during divine service. Even under those 
circumstances, several times during the discourse Dr. Durbin 
roused his audience by the peculiar intonations of his voice 
and administered that peculiar thrill. I could see the audience 
in the thrill, and then, when it was over, relapse into slumber. 

Dr. Durbin not only was very attractive in the pulpit, but 
he had excellent governing powers. He won the respect of 
the students, administered discipline wisely and well, and kept 
the conditions between the faculty and the body of students 
comfortable. He had four remarkable men associated with 
him. 

On our way from Baltimore to Carlisle we stopped to pay 



46 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

our respects to the Rev. Bishop Emory, who hved on the road 
about sixteen miles from Baltimore. While my father was 
conversing with him I was sent outdoors to play with the 
children, one of whom was a sweet little girl, who afterward 
grew to be an admirable woman and died the wife of my 
friend and classmate, the Rev. Dr. George R. Crooks. When 
it was time for my father to resume the journey, a tall young 
man of blond complexion and wearing glasses recalled us to 
the house. It was the bishop's son, Robert Emory, who had 
been called to the chair of ancient languages in the college. 
His father had been book-agent of the Methodist Church, and 
Robert had been graduated with distinction in Columbia 
College in the city of New York. He was not a briUiant 
man, but he had rare equipoise of mind and an elevated, 
manly nature, a thorough training, and all the ways of a gen- 
tleman. He not only discharged his duties as a teacher with 
piety and success, but devoted much of his time to personal 
intercourse with his students and attention to their religious 
condition. 

To the chair of mathematics there had been called a brilliant 
young man, recently graduated from the University of Penn- 
sylvania, John McClintock, afterward distinguished by the 
contributions he made to religious literature, especially as 
editor-in-chief, up to the time of his death, of McChntock 
and Strong's Encyclopedia. 

The professor of moral philosophy was Merritt Caldwell, a 
layman, who had come from Bowdoin College, in Maine. He 
was a quiet, distinguished, scholarly man. To promote econ- 
omy among the students each young man was assigned to a 
professor who had charge of his financial affairs. Professor 
Caldwell received the amounts my father sent him and acted 
as my bursar. 

A fifth man was in that young faculty, a layman, Professor 
William H. Allen, who had charge of the department of natu- 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE 47 

ral science. His was a rich mind. His lectures were peculiarly 
charming, and his store of thought and illustration appeared to 
be exhaustless. After leaving Dickinson College he became 
president of Girard College and of the American Bible So- 
ciety. 

How these five men did work, and what enthusiasm they 
kindled among the students! They were so different, so in- 
dividual, so earnest, making themselves so acquainted with the 
peculiarities of the dispositions and circumstances of all the 
students, that their influence now seems to me wonderful. 
Only one is now (1887) living, Dr. Allen, president of Girard 
College, who has just resigned the presidency of the American 
Bible Society on account of advancing years. 

In charge of the preparatory school was a Mr. Dobbs. He 
left soon after I entered college, and the last I heard of him 
he was in the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church. I 
spent one year in the preparatory school, and boarded in town 
with a family named Keeney. My father had made arrange- 
ments that my aunt, Miss Roberts, should accompany me. 
Her devotion to me was so great that she could not endure to 
be separated from me. Thus it came to pass that I had the 
protection of this most affectionate and pious woman. She is 
living while I write this, forty-two years after quitting college, 
and this very morning I hear from a near relative in Baltimore 
that she is pining to see her "old boy." Having her oversight 
and affectionate caresses was a blessed thing for me. 

I was admitted to the freshman class in the summer of 1835, 
a class which graduated seventeen strong. Of that number 
five entered the ministry, three in the Presbyterian Church and 
two in the Methodist. Of the men in my class few have 
become distinguished. 

Daniel E. M. Bates died chancellor of the State of Dela- 
ware. He was a gentle, excellent, high-minded boy, and be- 
came a noble and useful man. 



48 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

James D. Biddle, a relative of Nicholas Biddle, well known 
as the president of the Bank of the United States when Gen- 
eral Jackson made his famous movement on it, was a very 
agreeable and gentlemanly student. 

William F. Roe was an excellent scholar, and afterward 
became professor in Shelby College, in Kentucky. 

Lemuel Todd was in after years a general in the army of 
the United States during the Civil War, and afterward repre- 
sented his district in Congress. 

In the class next after ours was Spencer Fullerton Baird, 
who afterward became distinguished for his scientific attain- 
ments and for the position which he held at the head of the 
Smithsonian Institution. While in college he showed his great 
fondness for studies in natural history, spending much of his 
time in the fields and streams around Carlisle, noting the 
habits of animals. 

George R. Crooks was a member of our class, but by reason 
of ill health fell back and was graduated with the class of 1840. 
He was a laborious student. His thickness of hearing was 
very much in his way. I recollect distinctly how, when he 
recited in the ancient languages, he was accustomed to go and 
stand beside the professor while making his translation. He 
afterward became quite distinguished in the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church, was a professor in Dickinson College, and assisted 
Dr. McClintock in his great cyclopedia. For years he was 
the editor of the " Methodist," published in New York, and 
subsequently professor in Drew Theological Seminary. 

George David Cummins entered the freshman class when 
ours became junior. He became the well-known founder of 
the Reformed Episcopal Church. 

My first room was in the old building, a long room over the 
chapel. At that time interest in the two hterary societies was 
very intense, the members of the Belles-Lettres and the Union 
Philosophical societies severally exerting themselves to secure 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE 49 

members. I joined the latter and took very great interest in 
all its affairs to the close of my career. 

My habits of study were ruinous. No one then seemed to 
have any care for the health of students. A man or boy, as 
the case might be, was allowed to go forward without warning 
in regard to his health. Frequently I studied until twelve 
o'clock at night and rose next morning at four. No boy, at 
my time of hfe, should have been allowed to do such a thing 
as that. Afterward I modified it, studying until eleven, then 
walking up and down the campus, my mind occupied in mus- 
ings, in brown studies, or in excited thoughts about the future. 
In my freshman year I know there were periods in which I 
went from Sunday night when I returned from church, until 
Sunday morning when I went to church, without going out of 
college. Of course such things told on my health. 

The pulpit in Carlisle was an educational influence. The 
two Methodist preachers who were stationed in the town 
during my term were the Rev. George G. Cookman and the 
Rev. Thomas A. Thornton. Both these gentlemen had been 
stationed in Baltimore and were friends of my father. Under 
the former I had become a member of the church before 
going to college. His name is one that is likely to live in the 
annals of Methodism. An Englishman by birth, he had not 
been in this country many months before he made a national 
reputation by a most extraordinary speech before the American 
Bible Society. From that day to the day of his death he drew 
crowds. He was a slender man, trim, well made, about the 
medium height, very alert in his actions, with a ringing voice 
and a gray eye full of life. He afterward became chaplain 
of the Senate of the United States. He started on a return 
voyage to his native land in the unfortunate " President," 
which has never been heard from since her departure from the 
American port. His sermons were neither profound nor pol- 
ished, but they were full of life, and very vivifying to the hearer. 



50 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Dr. Thornton was a Virginian, a gentleman of pleasing 
manners, an interesting though not a great nor stirring 
preacher. Young Professor McCIintock came to the college 
a preacher, and the young Professor Emory was licensed to 
preach while I was still in college. Outside the Methodist 
Church the other pulpits were ably manned. The Episcopal 
clergyman, who boarded in the house next to the one in which 
I spent a whole year of my college life, was a preacher of 
very considerable intellect and much culture, and had a rich 
rhetorical style. He was very social and markedly convivial. 
A very different man was Dr. McGill, in the Seceder Presby- 
terian Church, who now (1887) in his old age is a professor at 
Princeton. He was tall, angular, and highly intellectual. His 
matter was beaten oil before it was brought into the sanctuary. 
It was an intellectual treat to hear him preach. 

In the First Presbyterian Church was the Rev. Dr. Duffield, 
who in after years labored and died in Detroit. His congre- 
gation embraced many of the elite of the town, and he himself 
was a gentleman as well as a scholar, and his scholarship, al- 
though high, did not dry up his powers of preaching. His 
wife was a New Yorker connected with the Bethunes and the 
Grahams. His sons became my intimate friends, and I was 
especially attached, and am to this day, to Divie Bethune 
Duffield, who is practising law in Detroit. The Dufiields were 
most kind to me, and I frequently spent my Saturdays at their 
beautiful home on the edge of the town of Carlisle. I believe 
that the influence of that family upon my Christian character 
was very marked and very useful. 

With such preachers as these to fill up our Sunday hours 
and cultivate the spiritual side of our characters, we who were 
then students at Dickinson College had very great privileges. 

Twice while I was an undergraduate I seemed to be near 
the end of my life. Many of us were accustomed on Satur- 
day afternoon to go to the Canadaquonet Creek for bathing. 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CAI^LISLE 51 

It gave us a walk of two or three miles, besides the pleasure 
of the bath. Here one Saturday I had the experience of 
drowning. I had been in the creek some time and was prob- 
ably weakened. One of the older collegians, coming down 
to plunge in, proposed to me to swim across. I consented 
if he would hold one of my hands and let us strike out to- 
gether. He caught my hand and we started. He thought that 
I was just pretending that I needed the help of his hand, sup- 
posing me to be a very good swimmer. In the middle of the 
creek he loosened his hold, shot under my breast, and threw 
me back in the water. I could not recover myself sufficiently 
to know which shore was the nearer. In my confusion I be- 
came alarmed, my alarm took away what little strength I still 
had, and I began to sink. A student on the bank saw my 
condition, and called out ; that student's name was Francis 
A. Baggs. He afterward became a Methodist clergyman in 
Virginia. A young man from Newark, N. J., a powerful 
fellow, who had been to sea, took in the state of affairs, 
plunged into the stream, caught me by my arm and leg, and 
flung me into shoal water, and then, with the assistance of 
other students, flung me out. I had gone through the horror 
of the struggle and had come into a condition of perfect peace 
and perfect comfort, the kind of comfort a tired boy feels on 
a warm spring day when he comes from a race and lies down 
to sleep — the feeling that precedes the loss of consciousness. 
At that moment, too, I seemed to remember every event of 
my outward life, every thought of my mind, every emotion of 
my heart ; my whole life, in separate, condensed panorama, 
rose up before my view. I had never read anything in mental 
philosophy, and this seemed very strange to me, but very awful. 
Subsequently I found that it is common experience. To this 
day I never refer to it without a feeling of solemnity. It 
seems so strange that my mind could see at once ten thousand 
things that had come into a life of fourteen years. Apparently 



52 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

it was at once, although they must have come up into the mem- 
ory successively, but with such rapidity as to appear to be seen 
all synchronously. This event sobered me, and, I think, gave 
a tinge to my feelings through my whole college career. 

My rank in scholarship was never very high in college ; I 
sought no prizes. As I intended to study and practise law, I 
took from the curriculum only what I supposed would be 
helpful to me in future law studies. I devoted myself mainly 
to belles-lettres, to compositions, and to preparation for de- 
bates. I did not put a proper estimate upon the training 
which was given by the regular college course. This error I 
perceived later in life. Now I believe that in the undergrad- 
uate course a man should give himself up wholly to Latin, 
Greek, and mathematics ; and, if I had the shaping of all our 
college work, I would exclude every study except those three. 
No boy should enter college until he had a thorough prepara- 
tion for the higher study of the Greek and Latin tongues and 
the masterpieces in those languages. I should put other studies 
afterward, in a postgraduate or university course, beginning 
with the English language and literature. I should never put 
an English grammar in the hands of a boy until he had pretty 
well mastered the Latin and Greek grammars. The university 
or postgraduate course I should have to include studies in 
law, medicine, and the Bible. 

Of course preparatory to law would be the English language 
and hterature, rhetoric, and dialectics ; and connected with 
medicine would be all the departments of physical science. A 
boy at fifteen should be thoroughly prepared to enter the 
college ; three years should then be devoted to the college 
course, two years to the postgraduate preparatory course for 
one of the professions ; then two years in a legal, medical, or 
biblical school would complete the theoretical education of 
the young man and prepare him to enter the practical school 
of the profession of law, medicine, or the ministry. 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE 53 

But the college course of the classical languages and mathe- 
matics gives the mental discipline needed by every man who 
is to take high rank as agriculturist, mechanic, or manufac- 
turer ; for this discipline is needed by such men as much as it 
is needed by those men who intend to pursue one of the 
learned professions. It should not have anything in it op- 
tional, and no man should be admitted into one of the learned 
professions who had not taken his degree out of some well- 
established college giving thorough training in Latin, Greek, 
and mathematics. But I had no friend to give me advice, and 
so floated along, picking up what I could and looking at 
everything in the light of the use it might be to me at the 
bar. 

I believe all my teachers liked me. I am sure that Pro- 
fessor Emory and President Durbin were fond of me. Within 
a few days Dr. Durbin's son-in-law, Mr. Harper, of Harper 
& Brothers, publishers, told me that the dear old doctor, up to 
the day of his death, would frequently speak of me, and always 
mention me with pride as one of his stars. Generally my in- 
tercourse with the students, so far as I know, was pleasant. 
I was never called before the faculty, never reprimanded. 
This is a very stupid record of a college career. I am at a 
great disadvantage at a reunion of the " old boys." They all 
have some narrative to tell, but if I stick to the truth I cannot 
repeat a single exploit. 

[In the paper dated May lo, 1839, from which Dr. Deems 
drew most of the above facts concerning his college life, we 
find near and at the end the interesting extracts which follow 
this parenthesis. — Ed.] 

In a few weeks my collegiate course will be finished. O 
CarHsle! can I ever forget you? Shall I cease to remember 
the haunts of five of the most important years of my life? 



54 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

The hand of time can never erase from the tablet of memory 
the images it has graven there. I shall cherish the remem- 
brance of pleasant walks and kind friends, and I can never 
forget hours of misery and a few bitter foes. Oh, how often 
in after life will I call up to my mind's eye the rooms in which 
I have pursued my studies, the hall of prayer, the sound of 
the bell which has so often awakened me from pleasant dreams 
to prepare for devotion, and which has frequently fallen on 
my ear as a death-knell when calling me to the discharge of 
some irksome duty. Nor will I forget the countenances of 
my kind professors, the jokes and sport which occasionally 
obtruded themselves into the recitation-rooms, and the lugu- 
brious expression which sighs from the face of every unpre- 
pared student. Above all, I shall remember, "while thought 
or life or being last," the path which connects the old building 
with the front gate. How often have I paced that path, 
feasting my mind with thought, and drinking in the imaginary 
melody of star-born music ; and how often have I given the 
heavy sigh which burst from a burdened heart to the night 
breeze that chilled as it kissed the tear from my cheek ; and, 
when my poor frail body has been exhausted, sunk upon the 
cold step of the chapel and pressed my temples, which have 
seemed ready to rend with intense pain and the agony which 
a too sensitive spirit contracted by mingling with the unfeeling. 

I bid you all a prospective farewell. My name will soon 
be forgotten here, but perhaps these sheets will fall into the 
hands of some kind friend, who, forgetting my thousand 
faults, will remember my few virtues, and love and cherish 
my memory. 

My frail bark may be dashed against some rock in the 
ocean of life ; but whether, in my dying hour, my head be 
pillowed on some bosom that loves me, or in distant lands 
where no friendly hand can wipe away the death-damps that 



COLLEGE LIFE AT CARLISLE 55 

gather on my brow, I wish the last words that tremble upon 
my lips to be, " 1 have not Hved in vain." 

Charles M. F. Deems. 
Dickinson College, midnight, 
May, lo, 1839. 

I have thus endeavored to trace my history from the first 
dawn of memory to the present hour. And I must not con- 
clude this sketch without making my acknowledgments to 
thee, my good goose-quill, for having so patiently accompanied 
me over these ten sheets without being once mended. Thou 
shalt soon be lost, perhaps sooner than thine owner, but thou 
shalt, nevertheless, have the consolation of knowing that thou 
hast been the wand with which he has called into existence the 
spirits of long-buried thoughts and feehngs. 



CHAPTER IV 

PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED, 1 839-44 

I TOOK my degree of A. B. in July, 1839, and went to 
Baltimore very undecided what to do. Before leaving the 
college President Durbin had offered me the choice of two 
places, positions of very great responsibility ; but I had the 
good sense to decline them. One was the principalship of a 
large institution for young men and women, at a salary of 
twelve hundred dollars a year, which was equal to the average 
salary of college professors at the time. Something was to be 
done. I intended to make the Christian ministry my life-work. 
I should at that time have entered the Protestant Episcopal 
Church but for the doctrine of apostolic succession. For 
many reasons I preferred it to the Presbyterian or the Meth- 
odist Church. I did not believe in Calvinism, and I did not 
.altogether like Methodism. But I could not persuade myself 
that the doctrine of apostolic succession was true, and without 
an overmastering belief in its truth I could not become a 
clergyman in a church which would ignore my father and my 
grandfather, and such beloved men of other churches as I 
knew, such as Dr. Duffield, of Carlisle ; and so I was very 
much at sea. 

I had not the means of going to a theological seminary, and 
if I had had there was at that time no seminary in which 
Arminian doctrines were taught, and I did not care to take 

66 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 57 

training at the hands of those who held other views. My 
consolation at the time was that I was very young, and that 
I would better teach awhile, until there came to be some 
opening of providence. Somehow I felt that the city of New 
York was to be the great city of the Union, and that would 
be the place in which a man should begin who looked to a 
long run of influence and a broadening life. 

It so happened that my father's brother, Mr. Henry W. 
Deems, at that time resided in the city of New York. I cor- 
responded with him, and was invited to go to New York and 
make his family a visit. I did not have a dollar in the world, 
and had borrowed twelve dollars and fifty cents from the Rev. 
Dr. Durbin to pay my last board bill when I left college and 
to take me to Baltimore. Determining that if I continued in 
the Methodist ministry not to belong to the Baltimore Con- 
ference, of which my father was a member, I felt that there 
might be better openings for me in New York. When I had 
been a boy in the city of Baltimore, David Creamer had pub- 
lished what was called the " Baltimore Monument," in which 
had appeared the effusions of the rising young writers of 
that city, and into it some of my own productions had been 
admitted. Very timidly I made known to Mr. Creamer my 
thought of going to New York ; and while his affection for me 
prompted him to say that his wishes were for me to remain in 
Baltimore, his judgment approved my course ; and he loaned 
me twelve dollars and a half, which barely took me to the 
rising metropolis. 

I shall never forget my arrival there. The possibility is 
that the latter portion of the journey was made in a steamer 
commanded by a man with whom a half-century later I was 
to have most important relations— Commodore Vanderbilt. 
My good uncle, Mr. Henry W. Deems, was at the wharf. 
What I knew of New York I had derived from the accounts 
of travelers and from the " Knickerbocker Magazine," which 



SS CHARLES fiOkCE DEEMS 

at that time was far in front of all American periodicals, and 
from the bright paragraphs of N. P. Willis, who was a favorite 
poet with collegians. The city was larger than Baltimore, 
having at that time a population of 312,710. We came up 
town in the Knickerbocker omnibus, past the office of the 
" Knickerbocker Magazine," turned into Bleecker Street, — the 
finest street I had ever seen, the houses seemed so stately, — 
and came down to Carmine Street, only a short distance be- 
yond which was the terminus of this great transportation line. 
I think our passage cost us twenty-five cents each. At Car- 
mine Street we debarked, and I went to my uncle's house, 
which was a short distance around the corner (No. 28). It 
was a bewilderingly big thing for me to be in New York ; 
twenty years afterward London did not seem larger. 

The first thing I did was to find Bond Street. Bond Street 
seemed to me to be at the top of all human thoroughfares. 
The local love-stories were laid in Bond Street ; the men of 
wealth lived in Bond Street ; in every woman I was to meet 
in Bond Street I expected to see a peri — such girls as Willis 
was accustomed to paint in his " Inklings " and " Hurrygraphs." 
There was a little disappointment, I confess ; but I must also 
confess that I had never seen so many noble mansions on one 
block in my life as in 1839 I saw on that short street. It 
must be remembered how small the city was then. Mr. Astor 
lived at No. 585 Broadway, near Prince Street, — there were 
no business houses along there then,— and there was no house 
above that of the Roosevelts, Broadway and Fourteenth Street. 
Washington Square had been a potter's field a very short time 
before this, but had been fenced in and made a drilling-place 
for the local militia and called " Washington Parade-ground." 
A few houses were built there. Second Avenue was laid out, 
and was going to be what Fifth Avenue has since become, but 
there was very little of it. This was just about the time that 
the avenue idea had taken possession of the minds of the 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 60 

people. Fourteenth Street was the highest street laid out, and 
very little of that was curbed,— none on the north side,— so 
that it was a good time to draw Fourteenth Street as the 
dividing line of the city, just as in former times Wall Street 
had been considered ; and from this time forth the city grew 
with more regular thoroughfares, the exception being the old 
Bloomingdale road, as Broadway was called, which continues 
running its cotirse regardless of rectangles, bearing northwest- 
ward toward Albany. 

That first Saturday night in New York was clear, with a 
full moon. I walked up Carmine Street to Fourth Street, and 
turning round that corner soon came upon Washington Parade- 
ground, with its iron railing. As I came to the East Side, 
the new university rose in the moonlight, so wonderfully 
beautiful that it seemed to me that I had never seen such a 
structure before. I thought it was a church. Across the street 
was another, and I wondered that two such splendid churches 
should be together. I recollect my aspiration then : Oh, if I 
could ever preach in that church! How little did I dream 
that twenty-seven years afterward I should be preaching in 
that identical building, to a few strangers who would consoh- 
date into a church to be probably as widely known as any 
other in New York! 

The literary celebrity in New York whose name was best 
known to me was William Cullen Bryant, whose " Thanatopsis " 
probably every college boy in America knew. I had a natural 
desire to look upon his face. I found from the directory that 
he hved two blocks above my uncle's house, just at the bend 
where Carmine Street became Sixth Avenue, a few doors above 
Bleecker Street (No. 12 Carmine). On Sunday morning I 
walked out and stood in front of the house, looking at it with 
all the reverence natural to a youth of eighteen who himself 
had a manuscript volume of poems in his trunk, which he 
hoped shortly to see in print. You see there was a sort of 



60 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

brother-poet feeling, with a sprinkle of modesty which made 
me feel there was an American poet a good ways ahead of 
me, and him I naturally wished to look upon. While I was 
gazing at the house Mr. Bryant came out : a man apparently 
in middle life, well made, lithe, and active. A little girl was 
with him. They started up Sixth Avenue, and turned at 
Fourth Street toward Broadway. At a respectful distance I 
followed them. Sometimes he would waltz the little girl 
around him on the pavement, and then go forward with a few 
dancing steps, and then resume a sober pace, which he would 
occasionally break with a little waltz. They went to Broad- 
way and then turned north and entered a church, and I fol- 
lowed. It was a Unitarian church, standing immediately in 
front of the present site of the New York Hotel. The Rev. 
Dr. Orville Dewey was the pastor, and he preached that day. 
I stayed through the sermon, and followed Bryant and his 
daughter on my way back to my own lodgings. I have re- 
peatedly seen Mr. Bryant since that day ; but that little girl I 
have seen only once, and then when I met her she was the 
wife of Parke Godwin and the mother of a daughter who also 
was a grown woman. 

I set to work at once to do something. My family and the 
Reeses, of Baltimore, had been friends. At that time there 
was a physician well known in New York City, David Meredith 
Reese, who resided on Hudson Street. He was the leading 
practitioner among the Methodists, and he made me acquainted 
with the chief people of that denomination— with the Rev. Dr. 
Nathan Bangs, the chief literary man of Methodism then in 
America ; with the Rev. Thomas Mason and George Lane, who 
were the book-agents of the Methodist Church, the agency hav- 
ing its headquarters at No. 200 Mulberry Street ; with the Rev. 
George Coles, editor of the " Christian Advocate " ; with the 
Rev. George T. Peck, editing the " Quarterly Review " ; with 
Francis Hall, Esq., who edited the " Commercial Advertiser," 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 61 

and lived one block below Dr. Reese. Immediately below Mr. 
Hall's was St. John's Park, in front of St. John's Church, and 
a number of handsome residences were around it. It was one 
of the aristocratic quarters of the city. In one of its stately 
mansions lived Mr. George Suckely, a leading Methodist 
layman. Dr. Reese was an ofificial member of the Vestry 
Street Methodist Episcopal Church, then called the " First 
Wesleyan Chapel." This and the Mulberry Street Church, 
called the " Second Wesleyan Chapel," were the aristocratic 
worshiping-places of Methodism in New York City. The 
officials of the Book Concern mostly gathered around Mul- 
berry Street, which also was strengthened by the families of 
the Harpers, publishers, and the Disosways, merchants. But 
the West Side Methodist aristocrats worshiped in Vestry Street. 
Their pastor was the Rev. Charles A. Davis, whom I had 
known in Baltimore, where he had at one time been stationed. 
He had been a friend of my father, and immediately took 
me up and showed me friendship. It was agreed that I 
should begin a classical school, and all these gentlemen fur- 
nished pupils and found others, and I was permitted to use 
rooms in the basement of the church for my school. I entered 
upon this work with zeal, and commenced writing so as to 
make money to pay the debts which I had contracted in clos- 
ing my college course and in transporting myself to New York. 
Among other things I wrote a paper for the " Methodist 
Quarterly Review," on " George Crabbe and his Poems," and 
I also wrote a little volume which is in print to this day (1886), 
being a " Life of Dr. Adam Clarke," the great Methodist com- 
mentator. Of course this small volume was a simple compi- 
lation of the three large volumes in which the doctor's life was 
originally published in Great Britain. Occasionally, also, I 
preached in the absence of Mr. Davis, and, when invited, in 
other churches. I have recollections of three of those occa- 
sions. 



62 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

One Saturday the Rev. Mr. Davis was called away to his 
dying father, and when I went down to the Bible class on 
Sunday morning I was told that he had left word that I must 
preach. I did not know what to do ; it was a great surprise. 
I had at that time preached only two or three times in my life. 
I took my seat in the chancel, praying and praying that some 
one might come in. I was not ordained, and so could not 
administer the communion, and there were the elements on 
the table in the chancel. I could postpone the administration 
of the sacrament, on account of the trouble of the pastor, but 
— the preaching! In the midst of my distress of mind I saw 
the great lumbering figure of Dr. Bangs, who carried his big 
head always to one side, as if his neck were too weak to sus- 
tain it. I took heart. As he came up I caught his hand and 
said, "O doctor, what a relief! You will preach for the 
people this morning? " He whispered to me that he had just 
got out of his bed ; he was ill, but Dr. Reese thought he might 
come over and administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 
" But," said he, " you are to preach." I had all a boy's shy- 
ness in addition to my reverence for Dr. Bangs, the man of 
letters of greatest fame in the Methodist Church ; and I had 
also that sense of responsibility which frightens me to this day, 
so that I never even now go into the pulpit without it, and some- 
times it is so severe that I am on the point of running across 
the river to Jersey and letting things go as they will. After 
nearly fifty years of preaching (1886) I often make the usher 
stop just an instant when his hand is upon the door to open 
it to let me in ; so it may be fancied in what a state of mind I 
went to the pulpit on that day! When they were singing the 
hymn after the prayer and preceding the sermon, I said to Dr. 
Bangs, " Oh dear, doctor, what shall I do, what shall I do? " 
The good old man said to me, " My young brother, trust in 
God and have no fear of man, which brings a snare. Tell the 
people what is in your heart." I could hear him praying be- 



rROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED G3 

hind me while I preached. The condition of affairs gave me 
very considerable excitement, and I finished some kind of a 
sermon without breaking down, and comforted myself all I 
could at the holy communion, trusting that God would make 
up for all deficiencies. 

The effect of that sermon upon Dr. Bangs's mind was such 
that, a vacancy occurring at Sands Street Church, which at that 
time was the principal seat of Methodism in Brooklyn, Dr. 
Bangs actually suggested me as the temporary pastor ; but this 
also I had the sense to decline, 

I have recollection of another sermon. It was preached 
for the Rev. Mr. Gilder, pastor of Allen Street Methodist 
Church. There was a revival. The house Avas crowded, the 
aisles being so packed that I think we made entrance through 
a back window. The magnates of Methodism were here in 
full force. The crowd and the circumstances naturally excited 
me, and I was coming to have the dreadful reputation of being 
a "boy-preacher." I recollect my text on the occasion — "I 
pray thee have me excused." I preached with might and 
main, and, following the custom of the denomination, at the 
close of the sermon I invited penitents to the " altar," as the 
Methodists call the chancel, although at this day they turn 
with great revulsion from the use of the word "altar" by 
their Protestant Episcopal brethren. They came in great 
number, they knelt three deep around the entire chancel, and 
it was a very exciting scene. 

When I sat down an old gentleman came into the pulpit 
and asked me if I did not want to go to Wesleyan University, 
and gave me his name as Dr. Laban Clarke. I supposed it 
was a proposition to take a tutorship at least, if not a profes- 
sorship. It was some time before the venerable man succeeded 
in making me understand that he wished me to go to the uni- 
versity to be educated. Somehow he had not got any of my 
previous history. When it dawned upon me that he was a 



64 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

traveling agent for that college and was endeavoring to beat 
up students, I was greatly amused, and shall never forget the 
expression of his countenance when I told him I was an A.B. 
of Dickinson College. Next day it dawned upon me that my 
discourse must have struck the old gentleman as a very crude 
affair ; that he saw in it nothing fulfilled, but enough of promise 
to justify an effort to give me a college training. This so 
mortified me that I never had the courage to ask him how on 
earth he could have made such a proposition to me. The only 
emollient that I could apply to my wounded vanity was that, 
in point of fact, I was only nineteen years of age, and weighed 
only ninety-five pounds. But even so, it occurred to me that 
the right course for him to have taken would have been for 
him to turn upon the authorities of the church for allowing 
such a youth as myself to officiate on prominent occasions. 

I have recollections of a third sermon, the record of which 
requires a preliminary statement. Upon leaving college I paid 
a visit to Mr. James Inness, a college mate residing in Newark. 
He had a cousin, a very charming young lady, whose intimate 
friend was the daughter of a prominent Methodist merchant 
in New York. This merchant had his country-seat in the 
suburbs of Newark. The house is now (1886) in the center 
of the city. This young lady insisted that her cousin Jim 
should take me to see Annie Disosway, whom I had seen at 
the carriage when Jim and his cousin and I were driving past 
the house, and Amanda had stopped to have a little chat with 
Annie. We walked up the lawn, entered the house, were 
shown into the parlor, and Miss Annie arose and greeted us ; 
but after a very few words became reabsorbed with a visitor 
who had entered before us, and who, I learned, was a wealthy 
young cousin from Philadelphia; she paid little attention to 
Jim and myself— he was an old neighbor, and I made no 
impression. I learned afterward that her father drove up 
from New York as Jim and I were leaving the grounds, and 




Charles F. Deems, at the Age of Nineteen, Preaching in New York. 

From a silhouette made in New York in February. 18i0. Dr. Deems wrote on the back of 
the original picture, "I esteem this a most correct profile of m.vself. C. M. F. D." 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 65 

upon catechizing Annie as to who we were she mentioned my 
name, and her father thought it exceedingly strange that she 
had not invited me to stay to tea. Why, she never thought 
of doing such a thing "with that college boy"! "College 
boy, college boy, Annie," said her father ; " why, that boy is 
preaching in some of the first churches in New York!" She 
then awakened to a sense of her condition — that she had not 
treated me with the respect due even the youngest and lowliest 
of the servants of the Lord, for she was exceedingly devout, 
and the ministry in her eyes was a sacred thing. 

It so happened that when the family returned to town I 
was invited by their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Edmund S. Janes, 
who afterward became bishop, to preach in the Mulberry 
Street Church. After the sermon there was to be a meeting 
for some parochial business, and I did not remain. As I 
passed down the aisle I saw Miss Annie give her brother a 
sign to go out and speak to me, which he did, teUing me when 
we reached the vestibule how his father regretted not being at 
home when I was at their place in Newark, and inviting me 
to visit them at their city residence, which, however, I did not 
do. Miss Annie had not yet captivated me. 

In the spring of the year 1 840 the confinement to my school, 
to my writing, and to supplying pulpits began to have such an 
effect upon my health as to cause Dr. Reese to advise my 
removal from the city. I then made up my mind to enter the 
itinerancy of the Methodist Church, and took a recommenda- 
tion to the New Jersey Conference. It was presented by my 
mother's old friend, Manning Force, after whom I was named, 
and who at that time was presiding elder of a western district 
in that conference. At the time I was accepted I was on a 
visit to some college friends in Alexandria. When the ap- 
pointments were made I was assigned to be the colleague of 
the Rev. George Banghart, of the Asbury circuit. This hap- 
pened to be in Warren County, in the extreme western portion 



66 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

of the State, a high, hilly, healthy, and beautiful country. The 
circuit took its name from a village called Asbury, and that 
took its name from Bishop Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Old Colonel McCullough once owned a large portion 
of that country. He lived Hke a baron on his estate, and 
ruled that whole district. His house was beautifully located, 
and near it he had built a church, which was one of the stop- 
ping-places of the old itinerant Methodist bishop, and around 
the manor had grown the village. Two young fellows from 
New York had made love to the rich old Methodist noble- 
man's daughters. One was William Van Antwerp, of a good 
Dutch family, and the other was Israel D. Disosway, of an 
equally good Huguenot family. When I reached Asbury Mr. 
William Van Antwerp, who had two grown daughters, lovely 
girls, and educated at the best schools in New York, occupied 
the old McCullough mansion ; Colonel McCullough had been 
dead a number of years. Across the road was the Disosway 
domain, Mr. Disosway occupying a little cottage preliminary 
to the building of another large mansion. I went up to my 
work, saw my colleague, who was a short, fleshy man with 
bright eyes, a strong voice, and considerable gift at singing. 
He had the old-fashioned Methodist fervor. 

It is to be remembered that I had just passed my twentieth 
year in December when I went to this region in the following 
spring. I was entertained at the house of Mr, Van Antwerp, 
whose family immediately took me up very warmly, and I had 
a lovely time with the girls, who belonged to the Dutch Re- 
formed Church, their father— at that time a prosperous whole- 
sale hardware merchant on Pearl Street— having contributed 
largely to the church built by Dr. Mathews on the north side 
of Washington Square. Now the uncle, Mr. Disosway, who 
lived on the other side of the road and was building the new 
mansion, was the father of Miss Annie Disosway. Fortunately 
for me she was still in the city. I studied in a room I had in 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 67 

the village, preached at the church there, and took my regular 
round on the circuit, which included a village which has since 
become the large and prosperous town of Washington. But 
at last Miss Disosway was to come up from the city. The 
curious thing to me was that while this young lady impressed 
me so little, except with her white teeth, her blooming com- 
plexion, her ladylikeness, and her little affectations, as they 
seemed to me, she appeared to be idolized by all who knew 
her : the bishops, the clergy, the leading laymen of her church 
who knew the family, her kinspeople, these, her two lovely 
cousins, Libby and Mary Van Antwerp, all spoke of her as 
being the best girl there was upon the face of the earth, and 
the sweetest. Unfortunately for my peace of mind she was 
also wonderfully conscientious. I did not know how she was 
going to meet me, but she did meet me with a fervor and a 
gush of which she herself must have been conscious ; for she 
blushed to the roots of her hair at the warmth of her saluta- 
tion, perhaps checked at the coolness of mine ; for in my heart 
of hearts I was sorry she had come ; I felt she would be de 
trap in our circle. Her warmth arose from no regard for me 
personally ; it was simply that she had been brooding over the 
sin which she had committed in treating me, a minister of the 
gospel, as if I were an ordinary college boy. She had deter- 
mined, as she afterward said, to make atonement for that by 
devoted attention to me when she came to the country. In 
alluding to it since I have often playfully told her that I 
thought she rather overdid the thing ; for when my recogni- 
tion of the feeling came, when I found that she had the inno- 
cence of a new-born babe united with uncommon good sense, 
ladylike manners, and a delicate conscientiousness which 
shaped her whole hfe, from dislike to her I went to the other 
extreme, and everybody can see what followed. 

When I was a boy at school, in Baltimore, I had made up 
my mind upon coming of age to go to North Carolina, to 



68 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

settle in the town of Asheville, in Buncombe County, and 
marry a mountain girl. The North CaroHna project was 
carried through, all except the settling in Asheville and the 
marrying a mountain girl — my little Asbury friend prevented 
the mountain girl. But still I had a strange drawing toward 
North Carolina. Miss Annie Disosway's pastor, the Rev. 
Dr. Janes, had become one of the secretaries of the American 
Bible Society. He was very much interested in my affairs, 
one of his pet projects being to marry me to Miss Disosway. 
I wrote to the American Bible Society to know if they had an 
agency anywhere in the South that I could secure. A letter 
came back to me very promptly, saying that the society was 
delighted at my turning my attention to their interests, and 
they would give me shortly a very excellent position, but at 
the present there was but one Southern State vacant, and that 
was one which they would not think of offering to me. In 
reply to my question as to which Southern State that was, 
they told me it was North Carolina. It surprised the society 
to learn that that was the identical State I desired above all 
others, and that I would take some modest agency for some 
portion of the State. I was immediately appointed general 
agent for the whole State. This was stunning ; but I had been 
declining big things so long I thought I would change my 
tactics, especially as now I was a whole year older than when 
I was graduated ; and, although not yet having attained my 
majority, I accepted the appointment. 

After a year of preaching, making love, and multifarious 
other businesses pertaining to that peculiar transition period 
of a man's life, I left to take charge of my Southern work. I 
never had seen a North Carolinian in my life until I reached 
Washington City on my way to my field. There I met the 
Hon. William A. Graham, of the United States Senate, to 
whom I had a letter from New York. Mr. Graham received 
me politely. He was an unusually handsome, stately, yet 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 69 

graceful man. If all the North Carolinians I was to meet 
were to be like William A. Graham, I felt that I had seen no 
such society. Truth compels me to say that after I became 
a North Carolinian myself I saw a number of grown men who 
were not nearly so captivating as the graceful WiUiam A, 
Graham. 

I stopped in Richmond, Va., and became acquainted with 
Dr. Leroy M. Lee, who was editor of the " Richmond Chris- 
tian Advocate." My headquarters were at the Powhatan Ho- 
tel. I saw several leading Virginia lawyers in the courts, and 
Richmond seemed to me a very charming httle Southern city. 
Just forty-five years after that I had occasion to stop in Rich- 
mond on my way South, and went to Ford's Hotel, which 
had in it something so famihar that I made inquiry and found 
that that was the hotel which anciently had borne the name 
of Powhatan. 

My entrance upon my work was not brilliant. The first 
place at which I stopped in North Carolina was Gaston, then 
a wretched little hamlet, having a little tavern in which every- 
thing was as filthy as anything I have ever seen in the way of 
human shelter in Asia or in Africa. You could touch nothing 
that would not stick to you— the spoon, the cup ; and the cup 
of coffee was a round lake in which there were floating isles 
of grease. Everybody that was not drunk was sleepy. There 
had been a cock-fight the day before my arrival, and I reached 
Gaston to see a number of young planters who had been 
carousing during the night till early in the morning and had 
left nothing fit to touch. I felt that if all North Carolina were 
like Gaston, and the majority of North Carolinians were like 
these dirty, tobacco-smeared, tangle-haired, blear-eyed young 
ruffians, by God's help I would get out of the commonwealth 
in less than a week. But young as I was, I was too old a 
traveler to expect to find North Carolina made up altogether 
of men like William A. Graham or like the young planters of 



70 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Halifax and Warren. Down the Raleigh and Gaston Rail- 
road I proceeded to Henderson. I had heard there was a 
very estimable Methodist merchant residing there, named 
Wyche, that this gentleman had been a member of the State 
legislature, and that he could give me a good start on my mis- 
sion. Upon depositing my luggage, purposely condensed into 
a small space, I called upon Mr. Wyche. He gave me the 
coldest kind of a reception, did not invite me to his house, but 
informed me that a stage would leave in a few hours for Dan- 
ville, Va., where I could meet the Rev. Mr. Bryant, who was 
presiding elder over a district of the North Carolina Confer- 
ence. It was very plain that this estimable gentleman desired 
to transfer the charge of me to some one else. Years after 
that, I may stop here to say, his son, the Rev. Ira T. Wyche, 
and his son-in-law, the Rev. John Tillett, became my de- 
voted friends, and I learned from them that Mr. Wyche felt 
so disgusted that the American Bible Society should bestow 
its general agency upon such a poor-looking little Yankee as 
I was that he felt as though he did not want to have anything 
more to do with the work. 

I took the stage, the one mode of conveyance in those days, 
and went to Danville. It was a long, hard, and doleful ride. 
I seemed to be going out of the State to which I had been 
sent. My funds were running low. When I reached Dan- 
ville the Rev. Mr. Bryant was out of town and would not be 
back for three days. I put up at a hotel immediately on the 
riverside to await the coming of this gentleman. I felt that I 
could not take another step till I saw him ; in point of fact, I 
did not know how to get back into North Carolina. To take 
the stage in return would exhaust my money and send me into 
a region whose temperature had been greatly lowered for me 
by the presence of the cold Mr. Wyche. Whereupon it set in 
to rain, and it rained three or four days, and I stayed on in 
the hotel. I must have made a pitiful appearance, for the wife 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 71 

and the sister-in-law of the tavern-keeper plainly took com- 
passion on me, and I could see on the second day, as I sat 
eating my melancholy meal, that they were making designs 
upon me. One of them at last came to me and said I might 
be lonely up in my room, and, if I chose, any time I could 
come down and be in the sitting-room of the family, if the 
children would not annoy me. Now that was quite an open- 
ing. I felt as Mungo Park did, while staying in the wilds 
of Africa, when the native women gathered about him and 
sang him songs of compassion. It zvas a lonely position for 
a boy twenty years of age, with his first undertaking among 
strangers, mightily in love and most uncommonly poor. By 
and by, however, Mr. Bryant came and everything changed. 
He was a man much below medium size, with a Jewish 
countenance, his hook nose a little bent toward the right. He 
was bright, buoyant, witty, and sometimes impassionedly elo- 
quent. Mr. Bryant received me most heartily, entered cordially 
into the matter of laying out work for me, and gave me a good 
start in my operations. We went down into Caswell County, 
one of the northern tiers of counties in North Carolina and 
not far from Danville. Mr. Bryant was to perform the service 
at the marriage of a young lady in the highest circle of society 
in that part of the coun ry. It gave me an introduction to 
the principal people whom I wished to know in Caswell 
County— to the United States senator, Bedford Brown, to the 
eloquent lawyer, John Kerr, who was my lifelong friend and 
who died while on the superior bench of North Carolina, to 
Dr. Williamson, a physician and planter of great influence and 
a leading man in the Methodist Church. Mr. Bryant laid out 
the plan for me, gave me letters, and arranged appointments. 
At that time the Methodist camp-meetings were going forward, 
and I was sent out to Iredell County to meet the Rev. Peter 
Doub, who was a presiding elder and a man of great native 
power, who had acquired more than usual learning under the 



72 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

difficulties of the Methodist itinerancy. All through the coun- 
try, as I went preaching and making collections for the soci- 
ety, I heard accounts of Mr, Doub's strength and length of 
preaching. I was told of sermons extending over three hoius, 
which seemed to be as great as they could be so far as the 
people could understand them, and how much greater they 
were beyond that no man in North Carohna had yet been 
able to determine. I remember that I drove up to the camp- 
ground in Iredell County, hitched my horse, inquired for the 
preachers' tent, went in, and found that services were going 
forward at the " stand," as the pulpit was called, and that Mr. 
Doub was holding forth. I stood where I could hear the 
conclusion of his sermon. He was a large man, of great physi- 
cal vigor and of real mental robustness. I heard only the 
last few ringing falls of his sledge-hammer on the anvil of his 
text. The hymn was sung, and after the prayer he came to 
the tent, where I was introduced to him. 

At that camp-meeting I preached every day, and I think it 
did me a world of good. All young preachers, upon quitting 
the college or theological seminary, ought to seek a round of 
camp-meetings and preach whenever they can get a chance 
— at a real, genuine, old-fashioned camp-meeting; not your 
camp-meeting on grounds where they have houses three and 
a half stories high with gable ends to the streets, but where 
there are tents and wagons, and nothing else to sleep in, and 
where people are gathered from great distances. No man 
could read a htde twenty minutes' moral essay there ; neither 
men nor angels could endure the ridiculousness of that. He 
has got to turn himself loose and preach with a swing, I am 
very thankful to my old friend Doub for keeping me that sum- 
mer at camp-meetings. Physically and mentally it nearly wore 
me out, but it loosened my mental joints and made me un- 
commonly supple. I was taken so young— not yet of age— - 
that I had the full benefit of tuition like this. 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 73 

At the close of the camp-meetings of Mr. Doub's district I 
made my way to the town of Salem, in Forsyth County. This 
is an old settlement by the Moravians. For years they have 
had a noted female school at this place, which has educated 
several generations of Southern girls, and many of the leading 
families of the Southern States, from Virginia to Louisiana, 
have been represented at this school. The town and seminary 
were more like my imaginings of a foreign place than anything 
I had ever seen. I was the guest of the excellent Bishop Van 
Vleck, not only as agent of the American Bible Society, but 
also as the friend of the family of his cousin in Newark, N. J., 
who were intimates of Miss Annie Disosway. Everything was 
very quaint and very simple and to me very sweet. Every 
attention was shown me, and I was invited to preach in what 
might be called their cathedral. I recollect two incidents in 
that visit. Naturally, love and marriage were favorite topics 
with me, and so one evening I led the conversation to the 
method among the Moravians. I said to the good bishop that 
I did not quite approve this taking a wife by lot. " Why 
not?" said he. "Oh, it seems to me," I replied, "that it is 
not only devoid of sentiment, but has the appearance of tempt- 
ing God." He set his views before me after this fashion. 
There was no tempting God, but impHcit trust in God. All 
Christian people believe in a special providence ; why should 
not a heavenly Father care as much for the mating of his 
children as earthly parents do? Moreover, when a Moravian 
had a wife assigned to him by lot, he took her precisely as if 
the sky opened and God handed her down to his arms, and 
she came to him in the same spirit. Now, two people, he 
thought, marrying in this way would be better prepared to en- 
dure the strain made upon them by the prosy and drudging 
details and often harassing anxieties of married life; they 
would never think of divorce on account of incompatibility of 
temper. They might have been brought together just be- 



74 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

cause of that incompatibility, if such existed ; or, having been 
brought together of God, perhaps there was no such thing 
as this fancied incompatibihty. He instanced his own case, 
where his wife had been selected for him at Herrnhut, in Ger- 
many. He had never seen her until he met her on the wharf 
in Philadelphia. " I doubt," he said, looking at the dumpy 
little German fraii with fond eyes, " if I could have made a 
better choice if I had taken many years and searched all the 
States through." "Oh yes," I said; "but yours happened to 
be a happy union ; but really, now, are there not many mis- 
takes made by this method?" He turned to me and said, 
" My young friend, when you come to be older you will find 
that there are a great many mistakes made by the other meth- 
od, where a man has no one to blame but himself for his own 
choice." I felt that there was great force in this, but at the 
same time I had a secret conviction that I had not made any 
mistake. 

From Salem I came to the town of Greensboro, which was 
afterward to be my home. I had a horse and a sulky. 
Coming down the hill Just west of the town, my horse stum- 
bled and broke one shaft in falling, the other shaft as he at- 
tempted to rise ; but he fell again, and I was drawn across him. 
I lay perfectly still until I could gather the reins, and then, 
putting my two hands on his side, I leaped as far from him as 
I could. He was up as quickly as myself, and shivering, his 
flanks trembling with the splinters which had been driven into 
them like arrows. If I had not made the arrangement with 
the reins before I rose I should have been in very great peril. 
But having had him now for a number of weeks, we had be- 
come friends, and he allowed me to extract the splinters and 
fasten him to a fence, which I afterward learned was on 
Governor Moorhead's grounds. Gathering together my little 
luggage, I walked into the town and went, as I was directed, 
to the house of Dr. Lindsay, the leading physician of the 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 75 

place, where I found the Methodist pastor, the Rev. Solomon 
Lea, and his presiding elder, the Rev. Mr. Brock. The first 
was a scholarly man and had been a school-teacher ; the sec- 
ond was a very handsome man, after the style of General Jack- 
son, but not a learned man. His library consisted of but 
little beyond a Bible, a Methodist Discipline, a Methodist 
hymn-book, an almanac, and a file of the " Richmond Chris- 
tian Advocate." Most of his thinking was plainly done with- 
out the aid of reading, but he was a very superior man. I 
had my duster on, and plenty of dust, and my small valise in 
my hand. 

Meeting the two ministers on the porch, we sat and talked 
for some time. On this, as on almost every occasion upon 
meeting prominent men in North Carolina, the look was given 
of wonder that I should be the general agent of the American 
Bible Society. I knew what it meant ; I knew that I weighed 
only one hundred and one pounds, that I was slightly below 
five and a half feet in height, and that I looked as if I should 
be in the junior year in college. My anxiety always was lest 
this should interfere with the success of my work as agent for 
the great society, which I was serving not in a perfunctory 
manner, but with a great dehght in being instrumental in dis- 
tributing copies of the Word of God. Mr. Lea was a nervous 
man ; Mr. Brock was imperturbable. After we had conversed 
for some time, and I had given an account of the camp-meet- 
ings I had attended, I told them at last that my horse was 
tied to a fence on the roadside and the remnants of my sulky 
were near him. Mr. Brock sprang up at once and called for 
a colored serving-man to come with us, and we four proceeded 
immediately to the scene of my disaster. When about half- 
way there Mr. Brock suddenly stopped and, looking at me, 
said, " You'll do ; I hke you! " " I am glad you think so," I 
replied, "but why do you like me?" "Because you didn't 
tell your story until you were ready." " Well," said I, " I can 



76 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

return the compliment ; I like you, and for the reason that, 
although you saw me come into the house in the strange con- 
dition in which I was, you asked me no questions until I was 
ready to tell my story." From that time on till the day of 
his death, in the far West in after years, Moses Brock and I 
were fast friends. 

The day after my arrival Mr. Brock took me out to another 
hill at the west of the town and showed me the site of the 
projected Greensboro Female College, of which he was a 
trustee and an earnest promoter. I gave him what views I 
had on the subject of female education, which of coiuse at 
that time were crude enough, but I had seen some schools 
at the North. I asked him if he were also trustee of the Ran- 
dolph-Macon College, the Methodist college for boys in Vir- 
ginia, belonging to the two conferences. He said no, he had 
been. When the chief duty of a trustee was to carry a sur- 
veyor's chain around the old fields in Mecklenburg County to 
stake out the campus of a college he felt himself sufficiently 
endowed by nature and grace for a duty of that sort ; but when 
they called on him to sign his name to a Latin diploma he 
felt that common honesty compelled him to resign his trustee- 
ship. He was a great man ; a small ignoramus would have 
kept on signing diplomas. 

My next point of interest was the city of Raleigh, the capi- 
tal of the State. This I reached in November, 1841, to at- 
tend the session of the North Carolina Conference, to which 
I intended to transfer my membership from the New Jersey 
Conference. Here was the seat of the North Carolina Bible 
Society, whose president was at that time the venerable Dun- 
can Cameron, a wealthy Scotchman, an EpiscopaHan, and 
president of the State Bank. My position as general agent of 
the American Bible Society for the whole State brought me to 
the acquaintance of the prominent citizens of the several de- 
nominations, and made me a subject of great interest to the 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 77 

North Carolina Conference, which body of ministers received 
me with very great cordiahty. The impression which I had 
made upon the three leading men of the conference seems to 
have been most favorable. The impression upon gentlemen 
of other denominations charged with the interest of the Bible 
Society seemed also to have been not unpleasant, although on 
both sides I met at first with that expression of surprise and, 
as I interpreted it, slight disgust that the American Bible So- 
ciety should have selected such a stripling for such a work ; it 
seemed to throw contempt upon the venerable commonwealth 
of North Carolina. I can now see just how those gentlemen 
must have felt, but the effect upon me at the time was provo- 
cative ; it put me on my mettle, and I was determined to work 
day and night in such a fashion as to eclipse all that my large 
and aged predecessors had ever done in the work of collect- 
ing money for the parent society and supplying the State with 
copies of the Holy Scriptures. It so happened that in the 
Methodist church, a night or two after the conference opened, 
I was called upon to lead in prayer, and that prayer seemed 
to have produced a considerable impression upon the preachers 
who were present. On Sunday I was invited to preach in the 
Presbyterian church, the pastor of which was the Rev. Dr. 
Drury Lacey, afterward president of Davidson College, the 
Presbyterian institution in the State, and to the day of his 
death my warm, consistent friend. Here again I seemed to 
have been divinely aided, and the sermon that day was a turn- 
ing-point in my life. At that time the Hon. David L. Swain, 
who had been on the bench of the Superior Court and also 
governor of the State, was president of the university of the 
State, at Chapel Hill. He had married Eleanor White, a 
granddaughter of Richard Caswell, one of the early governors 
of the State, whose venerable mother was still alive and resid- 
ing in an old-fashioned mansion on a place occupying a whole 
square in the city, Her husband had been Secretary of State. 



78 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

The Whites were Methodists. Mrs. White's lovely young 
granddaughter, Miss Felton, had just married the Rev. Ed- 
ward Wadsworth, of the Virginia Conference, and I had met 
them in Richmond as I came through. Governor Swain was 
on a visit to his wife's mother. He was an energetic man of 
great ability and far-reaching policy and of tireless ambition ; 
these quahties were united with a high moral sense, generous 
disposition, and a keen sense of honor. He was one of the 
homeliest men in North Carohna; very tall, angular, with a 
narrow, towering head and keen gray eyes. He had an 
only son, whose baptismal name was Richard, but who had 
inherited his father's nickname of " Bunk " Swain, Gover- 
nor Swain being thus familiarly known because he was born 
in Buncombe County and had represented that county in the 
State legislature. Little Bunk happened to hear me preach in 
the Presbyterian church, to which he had come with his aunt. 
They both went home with such glowing accounts of " the lit- 
tle boy what preached," as Bunk described me, that he drove 
his father into coming to see me and into bringing Bunk with 
him. Now it came to pass that at that time Governor Swain 
was exceedingly anxious to have a Methodist professor in the 
university. My age and size were much against me, as I 
afterward learned, but the governor became interested in me ; 
I was invited several times to dine or take tea at the White 
residence, and the governor had an opportunity to hear me 
preach again. Before we parted a pledge was taken that I 
should visit the university on my mission in the course of the 
spring. 

After the adjournment of the conference which met in 
Raleigh, I went to Fayetteville, under the direction of Mr. 
Cameron, to look after a lawsuit in which the American Bible 
Society was interested, and which I succeeded in bringing to 
a satisfactory conclusion. After that I passed up into the 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 79 

center of the State and recollect very distinctly that I attained 
my majority in a little town in Chatham County called Hay- 
wood. I spent the remainder of the spring diligently work- 
ing at my agency, visiting and preaching, and becoming 
acquainted with prominent clergymen and laymen of all de- 
nominations, one of my visits being to the seat of the uni- 
versity, where I could not have made an unfavorable impres- 
sion, as the trustees of that institution the following summer 
elected me to ihe professorship of logic and rhetoric. This 
occurred while I was on a visit to the North, for a change of 
occupation and for some rest, which I really needed, for I 
had worked almost incessantly. In the month of March I 
went to the town of Newbern. The Methodist pastors at that 
time were the Rev. Dr. John E. Edwards, now (1887) living, 
having ever since continued in the active pastorate, and an 
associate, the Rev. John Todd Brame, a young man of very 
fine intellect, who had been graduated with considerable hon- 
ors at Randolph-Macon College. I was engaged to preach 
every day for a week. Full of zeal, I went at it with all my 
might, preaching twenty-eight times in twenty-six days, hold- 
ing prayer-meetings, assisting in pastoral visiting, and enjoying 
the hospitalities of a town so refined that at that time it was 
called the Athens of Carolina. All this told upon me. It 
was while I was on a visit to Saratoga that I received the 
notification of my election to the North Carohna professor- 
ship. I submitted it to my friend Dr. Janes, who, while 
greatly praising me for my success in the agency of the soci- 
ety, advised me to accept the professorship. So also did Miss 
Disosway's father. I think it was a gratification to him, and 
I felt that it was a feather in my cap to ask his advice about 
accepting such an elevation as that. When I first told him I 
wanted his daughter he burst into tears and said, " I can offer 
no objection to you at all, but I don't want to see Anna a 



80 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

widow after being the wife of a poor Methodist preacher three 
years" — a Hmit which I now think my appearance justified 
him in making. So I accepted the professorship, upon which 
I entered in January, 1843, being at that time a httle over 
twenty-two years of age. 

[The editors would insert at this point the following article, 
which appeared in the " Raleigh Christian Advocate " in July, 
1885:] 

"a poem with a history 

" Forty-three years ago Dr. Deems preached a sermon in 
Raleigh, after the hearing of which Ex-Governor W. W. 
Holden wrote a little poem, the history of which our readers 
will appreciate, and will find in the following letter from Dr. 
Deems to Governor Holden, which we publish, together with 
the poem referred to : 

" ' New York, July 13, 1885. 
" ' Hon. W. W. Holden. 

" ' My dear Sir : Yesterday I found in an old tin box an 
old album, in which were many things pertaining to the tran- 
sition time of my passing from my " teens," among them this 
poem. It has occurred to me that perhaps you and your 
children would be pleased to have the original scrap cut by 
me from the "Standard" nearly forty-three years ago (!!!), 
when the reading of it almost took my breath away. 

" ' In the album from which it is cut there is a memoran- 
dum, stating my suspicion that it was written by you " the 
day after I had preached upon the soul's paradise state be- 
tween death and the resurrection." 

" ' With best wishes, 

" ' Very truly yours, 

" ' Charles F. Deems.' 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 81 

" ' For the North Carolina Standard. 

" ' TO THE REV. C. F. DEEMS 

" ' It is a startling and a glorious thing 
To gaze on genius in its hour of might, 
To hear the rushing of its flaming wings, 
To mark its eye as upward through the range 
Of the bright worlds of thought it sends its glance 
Amid the splendors of the spirit-land. 

" ' Speaker of God ! thy work is great indeed, 
And thou dost gird thyself unto the task 
With all the strength of deep humility. 
Till thy " boy-spirit," gathering in its course 
The power of angels, sweeps untremulous 
O'er all time's wrecks, from Adam's paradise 
To that far land, shrouded in mystery 
Beneath God's throne, and from whose radiant shores 
Ascend the anthems of the waiting throng 
In thrilling numbers to the gates of heaven. 

" ' And what to thee 
Is all earth's pageantry, the bannered pomp 
Of glittering legions? What the clarion's tone 
Rousing to battle? What the rending shout 
Of the strong multitudes that pave the path 
Of mad ambition? What the laurel wreath 
Which blooms forever on the poet's brow? 
Thine is a holier mission than the earth, 
Robed as it is in beauty, ever gave ; 
And thine an honor which the worlds shall see 
In the great judgment-hour, when all the stars 
Which thou hast plucked from out the night of sin 
Shall flash their glories, fresh and beautiful 
And all undarkened, from thy crown of life. 

"'Raleigh, September 5, 1842.'" 

When I look back at the period of my life when I accepted 
the call to the university, it seems to me unaccountable. I 



82 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

have always been afflicted with a large measure of self-distrust, 
which has been strangely mingled with a sort of obstinate au- 
dacity. When challenged to perform any public duty I have 
invariably shrunk from it in my feelings and yet have under- 
taken it by sheer force of my will. That at such an age, with 
so little acquirement, I should go into a faculty of men of 
ability and experience now seems to me to be the most ridic- 
ulous action of my life ; but I had determined to undertake it, 
and so I fell to work in the few intervening months to qualify 
myself for it as well as I could. 

For years the chair of rhetoric and logic had been occupied 
by the Rev. Dr. William Mercer Green, an Episcopal clergy- 
man, reared in Wilmington, well connected and well known, 
a gentleman and a scholar — especially a gentleman — a gentle- 
man of very suave and pleasing manners. The duties of the 
chair were divided and the harder portion assigned to me. I 
had to take the department of logic, but also assisted in the 
department of rhetoric, in the correction of compositions, and 
in the teaching of elocution. Before my advent the only book 
on logic used in the university was that most absurd and con- 
temptible Htde treatise by Professor Hedge, of Harvard Uni- 
versity, a book bearing the title of logic, with every essential 
thing belonging to logic left out. I adopted Whately's treatise 
and commenced with the jimior class, in which there was not 
a single student who could not have taken me by the nape of 
the neck and put me out of the window, and I managed to 
make work for the class ; so much so that they complained to 
the president that this young professor was making the de- 
partment of logic absolutely more difificult than the department 
of mathematics. The professor of mathematics was Professor 
James Phillips, an Englishman by birth, who had had experi- 
ence as a teacher in New York City before coming to the 
university. He was a man of very considerable ability. The 
salaries of the professors were not large, and Professor Phillips 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 83 

eked out the support of his family by preaching at a country 
church. I always liked to hear him preach and had great re- 
spect for his brains and acquirements, but have suspected tliat 
his son, the Rev. Dr. Charles Phillips, who afterward came to 
the chair in the university, was the better teacher. Professor 
Phillips was fortunate in his children, one of whom (Mrs. 
Cornelia Spencer)* has made many contributions to current 
literature, especially in the religious papers of her own church, 
and wrote a book called " The Last Ninety Days of the War," 
which I published in 1866, the first year of my residence in 
New York. The elder of his two sons is the professor to 
whom I have alluded, and the younger, Mr. Samuel Phillips, 
has been solicitor-general of the United States. 

The senior professor was Dr. Elisha Mitchell, who had 
been brought from Yale College to the university. He had 
devoted himself to science, had trodden almost every cow-path 
in the State of North Carolina, and before his death had edu- 
cated three generations, grandfather, father, and grandson. 
Dr. Mitchell was a man of commanding appearance and mag- 
nificent head. His memory was like a tarred board ; every 
feather that dropped on it seemed to stick. He spared no 
pains and no expense to settle the most minute questions which 
had sprung up in his investigations. I have known him to 
spend forty dollars to secure a map from Europe which would 
settle the name and precise location of some small village in 
Mexico or South America. And so he would explore the re- 
cesses of any county in the State to strive to find a piece of 
stone or humble plant, the existence and the characteristics of 
which it seemed to him necessary to know in order to pursue 
his studies. It was in this pursuit that he lost his life. He 
was examining the mountains in west North Carolina to de- 
termine the height of the highest when he fell from a height 

* The University of North Carolina, at its commencement, 1895, con- 
ferred the degree of LL.D. on Mrs. Spencer. 



84 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

into a pool of water, where he expired. His remains were 
discovered, and great honor was paid to his memory by an 
assemblage on that mountain-peak, in which the Rt. Rev. 
Bishop Otey, of Tennessee, President Swain, of the university, 
and other distinguished gentlemen took part. The professor's 
name was given to the mountain, which will hand it down to 
future generations. Professor Mitchell was a genial as well 
as a learned man, a wit as well as a scientist ; and I think we 
all regarded him at that time as the person who gave the 
greatest reputation to the institution. 

Professor De Berniere Hooper, a descendant of the North 
Carolinian signer of the Declaration of Independence of that 
name, was professor of Latin. These were the only members 
of the faculty of any mark. Governor Swain, the president, 
imparted his activity to the institution and built it up in many 
ways. He survived until after the war. I believe that at this 
writing (June, 1887) all my colleagues are dead. 

The duties appointed me upon my first entrance upon the 
professorship would not have been at all arduous to a man 
thoroughly prepared for them ; but for me, having had no time 
even to review my college studies on the subjects which I was 
to teach, it was pretty hard work. I was young and ambitious, 
and threw myself into it with all my might. In addition to 
teaching logic, I also had care of the essays written by some 
of the classes, and took turns in preaching in the college chapel 
with the senior professor, Dr. Mitchell, and my colleague, Dr. 
Green, afterward Bishop of Mississippi. It was a prodigious 
ordeal for a young fellow who had no theological education 
and no practice in writing sermons. The first of my produc- 
tions in that line was made for the chapel of the university. 

In addition to my college duties, I paid attention to the 
Methodist church in the village and did all I could to build 
it up. On Sunday night, in a little chapel on the site of the 
present Presbyterian church in the village, I took turns with 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 85 

the other professors in preaching. Unrestrained by manu- 
script, I turned myself loose on the boys and the villagers in 
earnest appeals. The collegians preferred my crude night 
discourses to my carefully prepared morning sermons, which, 
although written out, now seem to me to be about as crude as 
any young man's sermons well could be. 

While I was at Chapel Hill there came a young publisher 
of the name of Ball, representing the firm of Sorin & Ball, 
who secured from me twelve of my manuscripts and published 
them under the title of " Twelve College Sermons." 

There is such power and usefulness in ignorance. It does 
seem to me that the more we know the less we are willing to 
do, because we become more and more severely critical of 
our own performances. No twelve sermons that I have pro- 
duced since I was fifty-five years of age would I allow any 
house to publish now. My very youth, I suppose, disarmed 
criticism in a measure ; I was phenomenally young for such a 
position. 

In those early days salaries in colleges were not very ample. 
My salary was seven hundred and fifty dollars ; in Chapel 
Hill, however, at that time it was equal to fifteen hundred 
dollars in New York, and was not much less than twenty-five 
hundred dollars probably would be in Chapel Hill at this day. 
On that sum I determined to marry. 

When I became engaged to my wife her father was one of 
the most prosperous merchants in New York. Between our 
engagement and this summer the disastrous tide which leveled 
almost all houses passed over New York, and my fiancee was 
as gloriously poor as her lover. But I knew that in their most 
prosperous days the Disosways had trained their children to 
habits of economy, and that my little sweetheart especially 
was a woman who by her natural disposition, her acquired 
habits, and the grace of God which ruled in her heart would 
be ready to adapt herself to any circumstances and help me 



8G CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

in my work ; so by correspondence it was arranged that in the 
summer vacation we should marry. Courtship and marriage 
did not take me away one single hour from my professorial 
and ministerial duties; and now (1887) that we have been 
married forty-four years and have had six children I put it on 
record that my wife has never for personal or domestic con- 
siderations interfered with my work so much as one hour. It 
seems to me it must be almost unparalleled in the history of a 
Christian minister that any man could say so much. 

Her family were living at the old country-seat in Asbury, in 
western New Jersey. It was a journey from Chapel Hill to 
that place in those days. A day was spent in going by car- 
riage from Chapel Hill to Raleigh, then by a miserable httle 
railroad, consisting of rows of hewn logs with strips of iron 
spiked to them, to Gaston, thence to Petersburg, and so on 
slowly till we reached Princeton. It took me a good part of 
a week to do this. At Philadelphia I fell in with a presiden- 
tial party, the center of which was President Tyler, and we 
all drew up at Princeton on Saturday night and lay over Sun- 
day. I remember being at a party that night with President 
Tyler at Commodore Stockton's, although how I got there is 
to me a mystery to this day. On Monday by stage I reached 
my destination. There, on the 20th of June, in her father's 
house, I was married to — well, there is no use of an old man 
making a fool of himself by undertaking to tell what it was he 
married. 

In time to reach my duties at the university, we started 
back, visiting my friends in Baltimore and in Raleigh. The 
condition of the railroads in that day may be made to appear 
by the following incident. While going from Gaston to Ra- 
leigh a rail shot up through the floor of the car between my 
bride and myself. If it had struck the foot of either of us it 
would probably have broken a limb. What a road it must 
have been when the wheels were so small that a piece of iron 



PROFESSIONAL LIFE COMMENCED 87 

lying loose on the track could jump a wheel and strike the 
floor of a car! What a curious piece of iron that rail must 
have been to perform such a feat! What a slight kind of 
floor that must have been that could be penetrated by so 
slender a strip of iron ! There was a joke current about this 
road at that period. A conductor going along perceived a 
wooden-legged traveler, and as he was lame invited him to 
board the train and thus get a hft on the journey. The lame 
man excused himself on the ground that he was in a hurry 
and could not wait. Nevertheless the accommodations then 
were better than they had been a few years before, when the 
whole journey was made by stages. Then it required several 
weeks and was full of perils ; and North Carolina merchants 
going to New York, or to Philadelphia or Baltimore, as many 
of them preferred, were accustomed to make their wills. 

Collegians make a point of testing every man who enters 
the faculty of their institution. The boys tested me. I had 
put on no airs in the recitation-room ; I had overlooked many 
things; had gone straight forward, endeavoring to interest 
them in their studies, creating discussions in the classes, array- 
ing some portion of a class against another in a logical discus- 
sion, taking sides first with one party and then another, some- 
times leading my party to victory and then again encountering 
a defeat, which I always took in good humor, pointing out to 
the best of my ability to each party why the defeat or the suc- 
cess came. 

A part of the discipline of the university was that each 
member of the faculty took his turn in making a nocturnal 
domiciliary visit to the rooms of the students, talking with 
them, helping them in their studies, and also having the re- 
sponsibility of the care of the campus. There were some 
wild, rough fellows in my day from the South and Southwest, 
but they were not such dangerous men as certain boys from 
some of the older famihes of Virginia and North Carohna, 



88 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

who could plan and execute mischief with great cold-blooded- 
ness. I knew my time for trial would come. It did. I was 
visiting the room of one of the students on the first floor in 
the southwest end of the east building, when certain of the 
boys, who had taken umbrage at a very plain sermon I had 
delivered to them in the chapel, managed to fasten the door 
so that there was no exit to the undergraduate in whose room 
I was, nor to me. I was the only professor on duty. They 
commenced stoning the room. It was not only a mischiev- 
ous, but a perilous thing. I beheve every window-pane was 
smashed. The room was so exposed that there was but one 
part in which it was possible for two men to stand without 
being hit if missiles were sent in from every practicable direc- 
tion, as they certainly were. After the first shot or two, when 
I found that the combined strength of the undergraduate and 
myself, who were prisoners, was unable to force the door open, 
I led him to that point of safety. Our assailants had un- 
doubtedly calculated that we would go under the bed when 
they had searched the corner with small stones. I calculated 
as much and gave that bed a wide berth. It was fortunate, 
as they were drinking and singing and exciting themselves in 
their attack. Suddenly there came through the window a 
stone so big and so aimed that it fell in the center of the bed 
and broke it down to the floor. We were in our corner, how- 
ever, conversing together until the storm blew over. It was 
a long time, probably two hours ; it seemed to us much longer. 
At last a tutor coming by discovered the state of affairs and 
opened the door. The undergraduate found another lodging, 
for the room was wrecked and piled with stones ; and I went 
back to my little wife, to whom I said nothing about the mat- 
ter, as I determined never to allude to it in the college. 

The boys had tried my pluck once or twice before, and 
found that I was not scared by having a pistol pointed at me 
and that I simply did my duty. 



PROFESSIONAL LIPE COMMENCED 89 

Next morning I went regularly to my class with just the 
same appearance, I suppose, I had any other morning. But 
Governor Swain, the president of the university, had been told 
the matter by the tutor and was in a state of great exasperation. 
I had become his pet, and he was proud of me and could not 
bear to have any slight or disrespect shown me. He felt as 
if the older professors could take care of themselves, but as he 
had induced me to come to the university, he was pledged to 
give me special presidential support. The trustees were called 
together. One of the sons of one of the prominent members 
thereof, of very distinguished family, was in the row, and quite 
a number of the boys were sentenced to rustication. 

I went before the board and pleaded that the sentence 
should not be executed ; that I believed it was a proper one 
and necessary for the discipline of the college, but, the disci- 
pline being vindicated, I had no animosity against these young 
men, and felt that it was merely a foolish college freak. I 
succeeded in saving them ; and from that day on each man in 
that outbreak was my friend. Moreover, during the remain- 
ing years of my stay at the university I never had a disagree- 
able encounter with a student. My first year made them be- 
lieve that I was true, courageous, and unvindictive ; that if I 
was not a great man, I was greatly addicted to doing my 
duty ; and I have no better friends than the Chapel Hill boys 
of that period. 



PART 11 

MEMOIR 



THE YEARS 

The years that come to us are dumb. 

Their footsteps rhythmic, low ; 
We hear not as they swiftly come 

And yet more swiftly go. 

Each brings us something we must keep, 

And each doth something take ; 
Thus we are changing while we sleep, 

And changing while we wake. 

From " My Septuagint." 



CHAPTER I 

TEACHING AND PREACHING, 1844-50 

THE five years of Professor Deems's life in Chapel Hill as 
a member of the faculty of the University of North Caro- 
lina were, indeed, marked by perfect good will between the 
students and himself, as well as between his colleagues and 
himself. His home and social life, too, was such that he 
ever afterward looked back upon that period with pleasure al- 
most unalloyed. It was here that, on May 27, 1844, his first 
child, a son, was born, to whom was given the name Theo- 
dore Disosway Deems. On December 18, 1846, another son, 
Francis Melville Deems, was bom. 

Among the members of the faculty none secured a larger 
place in the heart of Professor Deems than President Swain, 
as has been seen from the reference to him in the autobio- 
graphical notes. This high esteem was never lowered by time ; 
for on May 13, 1869, in the course of an address on the oc- 
casion of the fifty-third anniversary of the American Bible 
Society, in the Lafayette Place Reformed Dutch Church, New 
York City, Dr. Deems said : " On this program you have an 
announcement of the death of one of our vice-presidents, the 
Hon. David L. Swain, of North Carolina. He was my in- 
timate friend, and his death is to me a severe personal be- 
reavement. That great and good man, judge, governor, 
president of the university, has accompanied me to the cabins 

93 



94 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

of sick servants, and sat reverently while I read to them the 
Word of God, and knelt humbly on the sanded floor while I 
prayed. That was in the days of master and servant. The 
first time I saw him after the war he came into a yard where, 
on the occasion of the death of a little colored child, I was 
preaching to an assembly of freedmen, and then he spoke 
words of comfort to the bereaved mother, and walked with 
them to the graveyard, where we buried the child amid the 
solemn services of the church." 

The five years at Chapel Hill, from 1842 to 1847, were not 
only happy, but also busy and significant years. Professor 
Deems toiled incessantly, laboriously, and fruitfully. As a 
natural consequence his reputation as a teacher and preacher 
of unusual ability went abroad. So it is not strange that the 
authorities of Randolph- Macon College, a Methodist institu- 
tion, then at Boydton, Va., had their attention attracted to him. 
By invitation he delivered an address at Randolph-Macon at 
the commencement exercises of the class of 1847. In a let- 
ter to the Rev. Edward M. Deems, from Mr. Richard Irby, 
the present secretary and treasurer of the college, whose per- 
sonal recollections of the institution go back to 1 839, that gentle- 
man says : " I recollect very well his [Professor Deems's] speech 
at the old college, and had a copy of it in my collection, but 
unfortunately that, with many other such things, has been lost 
in my moving to and fro. The first time your father visited 
the old college he took part in a debate in the Washington 
Hall. A young ' limb of the law ' took occasion to quote os- 
tentatiously legal authority to sustain his argument ; but your 
father showed he knew more about Coke and Litdeton than 
the young lawyer himself, and floored him, much to the 
amusement of the audience." 

This visit led the authorities to call Professor Deems to the 
chair of natural science. Had the University of North Caro- 
lina been a Methodist institution this call would doubtless 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 95 

have been declined, but Professor Deems had this one draw- 
back to his happiness, the impression that he was not as use- 
ful to his church as he might be. Perhaps in that idea he 
was mistaken, but he himself used to say, in reference to this 
matter, " The impression was deepened by the frequent appeals 
of certain brethren in behalf of denominational posts, and 
especially by the repeated efforts of the friends of Randolph- 
Macon College to draw me to that institution." 

Randolph-Macon College was founded by the Methodist 
Church in 1830, was opened at Boydton, Va., in 1S32, and 
moved in 1868 to its present site in Ashland, Va. It is the 
oldest Methodist college in the United States, its charter hav- 
ing been granted by the legislature of Virginia at its 1829-30 
session. The idea of the college was bom as early as 1828, 
in the mind of a layman, Gabriel P. Disosway, who received 
aid in crystallizing and realizing it from the Rev. Hezekiah G. 
Leigh, the Rev. John Early (afterward bishop), and other prom- 
inent Methodist ministers and laymen. Mr. Disosway was at 
that time living in Petersburg, Va., and was a brother of Is- 
rael D. Disosway, whose daughter became Professor Deems's 
wife. 

Randolph-Macon College was in 1846 the joint property of 
the Virginia and North Carolina conferences. Professor Deems 
was then a member of the North Carolina Conference. In 
1846 the Rev. William A. Smith, D.D., was elected president, 
and Professor Deems was invited to take a chair in the faculty. 
The question of the wisdom of so doing he submitted to a 
number of his ministerial brethren, some of whom urged him 
to accept and others to decline the invitation. After much 
thought he decided that it was his duty to accept. And so in 
December, 1847, he took his wife and his two boys, Theodore 
and Frank, and moved to Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Va., 
aboutone hundred and twenty-five miles southwest of Richmond. 

The travelers reached their new home in midwinter, the 



96 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

ground being covered with snow. Boydton naturally ap- 
peared at its worst. It was a very small place, and remote 
from the railroad. The cottage into which Professor Deems 
moved was in a grove somewhat apart from other dweUing- 
houses, and at first the new-comers were very lonely, the soli- 
tude of their surroundings being intensified in the spring and 
summer evenings by the weird call of the whippoorwill, who 
seemed to find in Boydton a congenial atmosphere. 

In January, 1848, Professor Deems entered upon his labors 
in the department of chemistry, commencing his course of 
lectures on January 24th. This he did with an inadequate 
equipment for his laboratory, and with no special training or 
knowledge of the science which he was to teach. In view of 
these facts we have brought out at this time that ambition, 
boldness, and faith in divine help which ever marked his char- 
acter and conduct. One of the rules of his life was to leap 
into any work to which he was called by Providence, and then 
work or fight his way out. He rarely failed, although at times 
he found himself in desperate straits. As professor of chem- 
istry at Randolph-Macon he had in his class, as he often said, 
some pupils who knew more about the subject than he did ; 
although he did not let the young men find that out, for, as 
he used to say, laughingly, he kept at least one lesson ahead 
of his class, rising often before day to prepare himself, and 
when he lacked minute knowledge of the subject in hand he 
performed so many and such brilliant experiments that his 
young men found no time nor disposition to ask embarrassing 
questions. 

Among the members of the faculty Professor David Dun- 
can, whose son, the Rev. James Duncan, D.D., became one of 
the Southern Methodist bishops, was probably his most intimate 
friend. But Professor Deems formed other warm friendships 
among his colleagues and among the students. Upon the 
whole, however, the one year of life at Boydton had in it more 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 97 

clouds than sunshine. In a certain place Professor Deems 
writes : " The year 1848 covers my professorship at Randolph- 
Macon. It was a bitter year. The failure of a Northern 
firm stripped me of what little I had saved at the University 
of North Carolina. I immediately projected the 'Southern 
Methodist Pulpit,' a periodical intended to assist me. The 
prospectus was concocted and written in Richmond, and ap- 
peared in the ' Richmond Christian Advocate ' of December 
29, 1847." 

The "Southern Methodist Pulpit" was published monthly, 
and was maintained for four years, the bound numbers mak- 
ing four stately volumes, and containing much interesting and 
valuable matter. 

Naturally Professor Deems's time was closely occupied by 
the preparation of his lectures, but he managed to find time 
enough to write quite frequently for the periodicals of the day, 
especially the " Richmond Christian Advocate." 

He found hving at Boydton an aged Methodist minister, 
the Rev. Hezekiah G. I^eigh, who owned a number of slaves. 
From him he hired as cook Lucinda, a negro woman about 
fifty years of age. She was an earnest Christian, possessing 
most of the good traits while free from most of the bad quali- 
ties of the Southern slave. The family became warmly at- 
tached to good old " Aunt Lucinda," and their affection was 
heartily reciprocated ; so much so that when, at the close of 
1848, Professor Deems told her that they must part, as he 
was going to move away, she protested violently. " No, sir," 
said she, " I will never leave you. You've got to buy me. 
If you don't buy me I will run away and follow you!" So 
Professor Deems had a slave thrust upon him, as it were. He 
paid Mr. Leigh about three hundred dollars for the good 
woman, and until her death at Greensboro a few years later 
he did all he could to make her lot a comfortable one, and 
she served him with untiring industry and sleepless fidelity. 



98 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

While never a rabid pro-slavery man, Professor Deems 
nevertheless conscientiously accepted negro slavery as a part 
of God's providential dealings with our race, finding in the 
Word of God provision made for the righteous attitude of the 
slave toward his master and the master toward his slave. 
Wherever he hved in the South he won the hearts of the ne- 
groes by his sympathy and self-denying efforts to provide them 
with the gospel of their Lord and Saviour. 

In less than a year after arriving at Randolph- Macon Col- 
lege he began, on various accounts, to feel that he was not 
exactly where he could best serve the church and the Master. 
He therefore finally decided to resign his professorship, and, 
yielding to the pressure brought to bear on him to enter the 
itinerancy, he became pastor at Newbern, N. C., where he had 
won many friends years before as the "boy-preacher." 

Professor Deems's resignation did not mean the end of his 
interest in Randolph-Macon College, for he ever afterward 
cherished toward it a warm feeling of interest. Nor was this 
a mere sentiment, but a practical thing, for he twice delivered 
the annual address, once before the war and once after. He 
aided the presidents in their efforts to secure in New York 
subscriptions for the college, besides giving liberally himself. 
He sent the library several of his books, and but a short time 
before his death aided the professor of physics and biology to 
furnish his laboratory. He also, by request, sent his portrait, 
which is now on the wall of the library, surrounded by a num- 
ber of others, whose originals he was associated with in former 
days. 

But his resignation in 1 848 was made in good faith, and was 
soon followed by his departure from Boydton. Again packing 
his household goods, he and his family, after another mid- 
winter journey of about two hundred miles, found a home in 
the parsonage of the Methodist church at Newbern, N. C. 
Here he continued his work on the " Southern Methodist Pul- 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 99 

pit," but gave most of his time and toil to his pulpit and pas- 
toral work. Although only twenty-nine years old, and although 
most of his experience had been in educational work, yet at 
Newbern, both as pastor and preacher, he was eminently suc- 
cessful. The church was in every way greatly strengthened 
by the efforts of the earnest, industrious, and eloquent young 
pastor. 

From a letter of a friend who lived in Newbern and was a 
parishioner of Mr. Deems when he was pastor there is culled 
the following interesting extract : "I wish I could write of 
his beautiful life and work in Newbern. As you probably 
know, he went there first in 1842 as agent for the American 
Bible Society. In a protracted meeting at that time he 
preached a powerful sermon from Judges v. 23 : ' Curse ye 
Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, ciurse ye bitterly the in- 
habitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the 
Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.' This gave 
great offense, but by it the wrath of man was made to praise 
God. Hundreds flocked to hear the bold young preacher, 
and I think the protracted meeting resulted in over one hun- 
dred conversions. I once went with him to a Thursday after- 
noon appointment in the country. For some good reason 
there were only three persons, besides myself, in the congrega- 
tion. Instead of dismissing us with a short service, he preached 
one of the most beautiful sermons I ever listened to from 
mortal lips. As we left the church I remarked upon it, and 
he said, 'Yes, that congregation was an inspiration!' He 
knew they had made great sacrifices to come to church, and 
he preached his very best for them. Great good resulted 
from it." 

The home circle in the Methodist parsonage at Newbern 
during 1849 was a very happy one. Mrs. Deems's good 
mother, Mrs. Letitia Disosway, at this time spent several 
months with her daughter's family. It was in Newbern that 



100 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Mr. Deems's third child was born, and named Mary Letitia, 
With that playfulness of nature which ever characterized him, 
and with reference to a certain nasal conformation of his little 
daughter, he immediately dubbed her " Little Cambric Needle 
Nose," as he had called his little son Theodore "Theodoric 
the Goth," or " Ollie de Gok," as the little one himself put it, 
in his vain effort to echo his father's words. The only cloud 
which flecked Mr. Deems's sky at Newbern was the fact that 
his physical powers were unable to keep pace with those of 
his mind, compelling him for a time to recuperate at Beaufort 
on the seashore. 

While a pastor at Newbern Mr. Deems was elected by the 
North Carolina Conference as one of the delegates to the 
General Conference, which met at St. Louis on May i, 1850. 
On his way to the St. Louis Conference Mr. Deems first met 
the Rev. Hubbard H. Kavanaugh, afterward made a bishop, 
and always a valued friend. In April, 1884, he sent to the Rev. 
A. H. Redford, D.D., who was writing a life of the bishop, a 
paper, portions of which are inserted at this point because 
touching on several points of interest to the readers of this 
memoir. 

" SOME RECOLLECTIONS OF BISHOP KAVANAUGH 

"In May of 1850 I first saw Hubbard H. Kavanaugh. I 
was then a Methodist minister. The delegation from the North 
Carolina Annual Conference, of which I was a member, was 
on its way to the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, to be held in St. Louis. The two 
youngest members elect were, I believe, the Rev. A. H. Red- 
ford, of Kentucky, and the writer of these recollections, who 
was twenty-nine years of age. Our delegation went to Cin- 
cinnati by the river. When the steamer drew up to the levee 
there were several ministers waiting for us. Being young I 
remained on the hurricane-deck and saw the landing of some 



TEACHING AND PREACH I NG 101 

of the older members of the Virginia delegation, who had 
joined us en route. While the fastening of our steamer was 
going on I studied the faces on shore. There stood in the 
group one whom I had never seen. He made a great im- 
pression on me. He was a short, square, muscular man, large 
for his height, without superabundant flesh, ruddy without 
being florid, with z. pertnajient look, and made to stay. In his 
eye there was a tremble of innocent fun, and when he laughed 
heartily he shook all over like a well-filled jelly-bag. I wanted 
to know him. 

" As our delegation lay over in the city it fell upon me to 
have to preach, and already I had formed the habit of being 
careful, on special occasions, not to try to preach, but on all 
occasions to do my best. The sermon made Mr. and Mrs. 
Kavanaugh my friends. She was a charming type of the best 
kind of Methodist woman, and that is high praise. She was 
tall and slender, and in every physical, and perhaps mental, 
quality the opposite of her husband, certainly in the latter his 
complement. They went down the river with us, and every- 
thing I saw and heard of Hubbard Kavanaugh made him 
dearer to me. Then I felt that that man ought to be a 
bishop of the church, but knew that his time was not yet. 

" From St. Louis I carried back the best remembrances of 
Mr. Kavanaugh. He was so simple without insipidity, so 
conscientious without asperity, so earnest without fanaticism, 
so cheerful without frivohty, so efficient without ambition, that 
I loved to dwell upon his character and try to form mine after 
the model. And what a preacher he was, after the first three 
quarters of an hour! He was an Alleghany thunder-storm 
turned loose. He could not preach in an expository, quiet, 
conversational manner. His subject seemed to burn in him 
like a smoldering fire until it reached a vent, when it suddenly 
blazed forth and set his whole nature in flame. 

" In 1854 we were again elected to the General Conference, 



102 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

held that year in Columbus, Ga. As few of the North Caro- 
lina delegates had seen Mr. Kavanaugh, and none but myself 
knew him personally and well, the brethren depended upon 
my representations of him, and I urged his name warmly. It 
was agreed that we would vote for him. It ought perhaps to 
be said that I had never spoken on this subject to Mr. Kava- 
naugh, and that in the North Carolina Conference there was 
no one suffering with the cacoethes episcopalis. 

" During the session a Kentucky delegate came to me and 
asked me what the North Carohnians desired in regard to the 
episcopacy. I told him that we had no aspirations, but would 
be pleased to receive suggestions; and he replied that the 
Kentucky brethren had not made any choice. 'Well, you 
don't have far to look.' 'What do you mean?' he asked. 
'Of course you will vote for Hubbard H. Kavanaugh!' was 
my answer, and he replied, 'We have not thought of him; 
could he be elected?' 'That is not the question,' said I; 
'but the whole North Carolina delegation is going to vote for 
him because we beheve he ought to be elected.' The Ken- 
tucky delegate seemed to be surprised, but pleased. The result 
was that Mr. Kavanaugh was elected bishop. 

" The bishop was known to be given to preaching sermons 
that were lofty and long, taking a good while to reach the req- 
uisite pitch. After his election, while we were talking it over 
in his room, and his natural modesty was really so oppressing 
him that he felt as if he could not take the mighty work in 
hand, I spoke cheerfully and playfully with him, giving him 
two pieces of advice. One was that when he was to preach 
at a conference he should commence in the basement, hold 
forth about three quarters of an hour, and then go preaching 
up into the pulpit, and carry everything before him. Mrs. 
Kavanaugh said she had given him similar advice. The other 
was that he never attend an annual conference without having 
Mrs. Kavanaugh with him, assigning as a reason that I had 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 103 

cast my vote mainly for the female side of the house, for if 
ever there were to be lady bishops, Mrs. Kavanaugh was my 
first choice. The first advice I have never heard that he 
heeded ; the second I believe he faithfully observed, to his 
own great comfort and the profit of the church. 

"At the General Conference of 1866 in New Orleans, the 
last in which I had the honor to represent the North Carolina 
Conference, who gave me that distinction although I had been 
removed to New York, Bishop Kavanaugh one day invited 
me to dine with him. Connected with the house of his host 
was a garden, in which we walked and talked. At the end 
of the alley, after we had passed up and down the path sev- 
eral times, he wheeled in front of me, stood and chuckled, and 
shook with that peculiar motion of merriment so famihar to 
his friends, and said, ' Deems, the responsibihty of my being 
bishop is on your shoulders.' ' Let it stay there ; I am willing 
to bear it.' ' Do you know what I thought of you when you 
first mentioned me for bishop?' 'Certainly not; you never 
told me.' ' Well,' said he, pausing a moment and chuckling 
again, ' I thought you were a fool.' And he laughed outright. 
'Well, bishop, what did you think of a majority of the Gen- 
eral Conference when they coincided with me?' Then he 
shook with merriment and exclaimed, 'Why, I thought they 
were fools too.' ' And have you never recovered your respect 
for the General Conference and for me, bishop?' There 
came suddenly a deeply solemn expression into his face, and 
he said slowly, * Never, until our war came. There was a 
moment of crisis in Kentucky and the surrounding region. 
The affairs of the Southern Methodist Church were in such 
position that perhaps there was no man living who could have 
held the church from destruction but myself. My antece- 
dents and connections in Kentucky gave me the needed influ- 
ence, and one day in the midst of great pressure there came 
to me a consciousness of that, but never up to that hour had 



104 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

I been able to understand the providence which had allowed 
the church to make me bishop.' A little twinkle came back 
into his eye, and he added, ' Then it occurred to me that 
Deems might be a fool, but he was a prophet likewise.' And 
he put his arm in mine, drew me affectionately to him, and 
we left the garden. 

" When the Round Lake Fraternal Camp-meeting was pro- 
jected, among the names in the South which I furnished the 
promoters was that of Bishop Kavanaugh. The church papers, 
North and South, told how he won all hearts by his modesty, 
sweetness, and cheerfulness, and how he surprised the great 
audience who heard him preach by the vast sweep of his 
thought and the mighty unction of his dehvery. There are 
thousands who will make the impression on their children's 
children that the man they heard at Round Lake was the 
mightiest preaching bishop in America. 

" My last meeting with Bishop Kavanaugh was at Deering 
Camp-ground, in Kentucky. I suspect that I owed my invi- 
tation to that meeting to my dear old friend. It was easy for 
a man of my style to preach alternately with a man of Bishop 
Kavanaugh's style, because we were so totally different in 
physique, and in manner of thought and delivery, that no 
comparison would probably suggest itself to any hearer ; and 
we were intent on saving souls. A cottage was set apart for 
us ; there we talked together about things pertaining to the 
kingdom of God, there we prayed together, thence we went 
together to the pulpit, and there we parted, to meet no more 
on earth. The next spring, when traveling in the Arabian 
Desert, going up to awful Sinai, the mount of God, one night 
I dreamed of that cottage on the Kentucky hill, and thought 
it was night, and thought I heard the choir singing, as they 
did one night before that cottage door, the strains of ' Beulah 
Land,' and the impression was so great that I awoke, and still 
heard the notes so distinctly that I walked out of the tent upon 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 105 

the cold sand, among my sleeping Arabs and sleeping camels, 
as if I would find the singers. Then I knew it was an echo 
from the Kentucky camp, and I seemed to be with Bishop 
Kavanaugh. I felt that since Moses went that road with 
Aaron and Hur no purer, loftier sot;l had gone that way up 
to the mount of God." 

The St. Louis Conference consisted of one hundred and 
three members, the bishops present being Bishops Andrew, 
Paine, Capers, and Soule. 

Probably the most interesting event of the occasion was the 
election to the episcopate of Henry B. Bascom, D.D. His 
ordination took place in the afternoon of Sunday, May 1 2th, 
and is referred to as follows in Mr. Deems's account of the 
conference in the " Southern Methodist Pulpit " : 

" An hour before the appointed time the large and elegant 
church where we met was crowded, the aisles were full, the 
vestibule was blocked up with standing spectators, aged clergy 
filled the altar and the pulpit steps. The bishop elect opened 
the services with a chapter from the Scriptures and announced 
a hymn. Dr. Lovick Pierce followed in prayer, and Dr. Bas- 
com preached. ' God forbid that I should glory, save in the 
cross,' was his theme. He read his sermon, adhering minutely 
to the manuscript, and following the lines with the finger of 
his left hand. His voice was low and husky, so that he could 
scarcely have been heard by more than half the assemblage, 
until he arrived at his concluding paragraphs. Occasionally 
he would look up with an eye all fire, and fling upon the con- 
gregation a sentence which had the effect of the touch of the 
torpedo upon those who heard. His excitement was intense ; 
he trembled under it, and so did we. We were afraid that it 
was more than he could endure. The last paragraph was as- 
cendingly glorious. After his sermon the bishop elect was 
conducted by the venerable Drs. Early and Lovick Pierce 



106 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

to his place in front of the altar. Bishop Andrew read the 
collect, Bishop Capers the epistle, Bishop Paine the gospel. 
Dr. Early presented the bishop elect. Bishop Andrew moved 
the congregation to prayer and afterward addressed and 
questioned the bishop elect. The impressive Veni Creator 
Spiritus was repeated in alternate strains by the bishops and 
other clergy present. The senior bishop was then brought in, 
in a feeble state, tottering and gasping for breath. He stood 
up— that great wreck of the noble Bishop Soule*— and laid 
his large and heavy hand on the head of Dr. Bascom, which 
seemed to sink beneath the pressure. The other bishops and 
Drs. Early and Pierce then laid their hands upon his. In 
the profound stillness of the great congregation, making, as 
it were, the last effort of his old age, in a low, tremulous voice 
Bishop Soule said, * Receive the Holy Ghost for the office 
and work of a bishop in the church of God.' The Bible was 
presented by Bishop Andrew, and the concluding prayer was 
offered by Bishop Paine. In a state of exhaustion from the 
protracted and intensely interesting service, the congregation 
retired from the church." 

Meeting Bishop Bascom shortly after the service, Mr. Deems 
said to him, "Good-morning, Doctor — Bishop Bascom;" and 
his reply, with his husky voice and flushing face, to the ac- 
knowledgment of his new honor and authority was, " You tear 
my head with a crown of thorns." Impressive as was the 
occasion of the ordination of this great and good bishop, its 
impressiveness would have been deepened had those concerned 
seen that within four months, on September 8, 1850, the good 
bishop was to exchange his " crown of thorns " for a " crown 
of life." 

While the conference was in session St. Louis was suffering 
from a visitation of the cholera. Considerable sickness and 

* Bishop Soule was the framer of the constitution of the Southern 
Methodist Church. 



TEACHING AND PREACHING 107 

panic prevailed among the delegates, but, with commendable 
faithfulness, they stood at the post of duty, and much impor- 
tant business was transacted before adjournment. 

It was while at the St. Louis Conference that Mr. Deems 
was called to the presidency of Greensboro Female College, 
at Greensboro, N. C. After due consideration, deciding to 
accept the position, he returned to Newbern, and, closing his 
pastorate there, moved his family to his new field of work. 



CHAPTER II 

PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE, 1850-54 

MR. DEEMS found the affairs of Greensboro College at a 
low ebb. The buildings were sadly out of repair and in- 
adequate to meet the demands of any increased patronage ; the 
curriculum was more contracted than that of any similar school 
in the South ; there were virtually no appliances for teaching, 
such as maps, globes, and philosophical apparatus; the staff 
of teachers was insufficient in numbers and variety ; and the 
charges for board and tuition were below those of other hke 
schools. 

With characteristic executive ability, zeal, devotion, and 
fidelity, he detected the wants of the college, and by his fac- 
ulty for inspiring confidence he so aroused the enthusiasm of 
the trustees that they gave him his way, which meant certain 
success. During the five years of his life in Greensboro he 
caused the older buildings to be repaired and new ones to a 
great extent to be added ; the curriculum was enlarged so as 
to equal any, and in some respects to surpass all, rival female 
seminaries in the South. He gathered about him— for he pos- 
sessed rare powers for the appraisement of the fitness of others — 
a superb corps of faithful and capable teachers. These he in- 
spired with his own ardor, ambition, and breadth of views ; and 
not only by his liberality toward them in the matter of secur- 
ing for them increased salaries,— for he believed in paying good 

108 



PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE 109 

teachers liberally, — but, above all, by that genial, gracious, just, 
and generous manner which ever marked his intercourse with 
everybody and in every relation of life, he so endeared him- 
self to them personally that service seemed but an act of 
friendship. The college was fully equipped for efficient teach- 
ing ; the charges for board and tuition were raised so as no 
longer to underbid other hke institutions ; and withal, under 
his able and brilliant presidency, Greensboro Female College 
took a foremost place among the seminaries of learning for 
young women ; and so deep and broad were the foundations 
which he laid anew for the reorganized and remodeled school 
that it has ever kept its high rank. 

During vacations, and often during term-time. President 
Deems was indefatigable in making tours to various parts of 
the State for the purpose of raising funds for the college and 
otherwise promoting its interests. 

From his Journal, 1852 

" March 27th. Visit from the Rev. G. M. Everhart, a tutor 
in Emory and Henry College, who came to sound me upon 
taking the presidency of the college, about to be vacated by 
President Collins, who goes to the head of Dickinson. Do 
not see that it is my duty to go. Am doing much good here, 
and should be perfectly satisfied if I had a comfortable house. 
By ' perfecdy satisfied ' I mean as much so as I could be in a 
literary institution. In any situation I must have vexations. 
I have them here. ... I am too small, too young, too little 
learned, to preside over a faculty of older and abler men." 

"April 2 2d, Thursday. Cold and windy. At twenty min- 
utes past nine o'clock in the morning I looked upon the face 
of my Joiirth child, a boy. There is no name for the young 
man as yet. His mother insists on calling him Charles, but 
I protest against this, as I cannot endure the practice of per- 



110 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

petuating names in a family. The use of names is to make dis- 
tinction. But suppose there should be half a dozen Charleses. 
Some adjunct to the name would have to be used, as old 
Charles, yoking Charles, big Charles, little Charles, swearing 
Charles, etc. My plan in names is to make as sure as possi- 
ble that no other Deems ever had the name I proposed for 
my child." 

Faithful old "Aunt Lucinda," the colored nurse who had 
served the family so loyally at Randolph-Macon and at New- 
bem, was a valued member of the household in Greensboro. 
After a time her health failed. One night, after an unusually 
hard day, she asked Mrs. Deems to come up to her room and 
read the Bible to her and pray with her. This was gladly 
done, for we all loved Aunt Lucinda. Then came the good- 
night salutations. In the morning when her room was visited, 
she was found, with a peaceful expression, resting in the sleep 
of death. It was a terrible shock to the family, and more 
genuine grief for the dead was never felt than that of our 
household when Aunt Lucinda died. 

Shortly after this there came to the kitchen door and in- 
quired for Mrs. Deems a very neatly dressed colored woman, 
whose speech and bearing were those of a person of unusual 
intelHgence. 

"Well, my good woman, what can we do for you? " asked 
Mrs. Deems. 

" I want you to buy me. Miss Deems." (The negroes never 
said " Mrs." ; it was always " Miss.") 

" What is your name? " 

" Rachel, ma'am." 

"Why do you want us to buy you, Rachel? Have you 
not a good home? " 

" Yes, ma'am, I got a good home, and my master is very 
kind ; but he's got to sell, and he told me I might pick out 



PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE 111 

somebody to buy me if I could. I likes Dr. Deems and you, 
and would like you to buy me. Can't you, miss? I wish 
mightily you would! " 

Mrs. Deems told her that they did not want to buy a ser- 
vant at that time, but " Aunt Rachel " persisted, carried her 
point, and was bought for about eight hundred dollars. As 
Dr. Deems made it a point not to separate negro families, he 
hired " Uncle Henry," Aunt Rachel's husband. They were 
a worthy couple, and a deep attachment existed between them 
and the family. They were always present at family worship, 
and received every care and attention. Aunt Rachel could 
read and was a devout Christian, as was the case with slaves 
in so many homes in the South. 

From his Journal^ 1852 

"June 30th, Weldon, Wednesday. A mass-meeting, at 
which I took ground distinctly in favor of the passage of a 
law prohibiting the traffic in ardent spirits, reviewing the 
statutes of the State upon the subject. I was about two hours 
speaking, and the assembly Hstened with marked attention. 
Thursday, dined at S. W. Brandis's, took tea with the Rev. 
Thomas G. Lowe in Halifax, spent the night in Weldon, and 
next evening reached Stony Creek and the residence of my 
father-in-law, I. D. Disosway, Esq., where I had the pleasure 
of meeting Mrs. Deems and the children. On this tour I 
collected bonds and cash amounting to one thousand dollars 
for the Fund for Educating Preachers' Daughters." 

"July 15th. The college opened its fall session, and fifty- 
four boarders were in attendance the first day. In about a 
fortnight we had seventy-seven. This is the largest number 
ever in attendance during the fall session. We reached sev- 
enty-five last Christmas." 

"August I St. The little book 'What Now?' was written 



112 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

for the class which graduated at our late commencement. It 
was the product of three weeks' work of scraps and shreds of 
time, and was sent without copying to the printer. This is very 
indiscreet, but it was an emergency. May it do much good. 
Dr. ColHns has finally left Emory and Henry College. I have 
had a visit from the Rev. T. R. Catlett, a trustee, and the Rev. 
G. M. Everhart, formerly of the faculty. They both urge me 
to accept the presidency. A letter from my friend Coleman 
does the same. Do not yet see my duty clear; must be con- 
vinced of that, or I do not move. How much easier life 
would be if we had an angel of revelation to tell us on each 
occasion what is right! I think I desire to do right, but I am 
very frequently puzzled to know what to do. ' Father, thou 
art my guide from my youth.' " 

"August 1 6th. Made a missionary collection of sixty dol- 
lars, only seven dollars and fifty cents having been collected 
on the whole circuit last year. This was favorable. On the 
2oth of August I started at two o'clock in the morning for 
Halifax, after being up and at conversation or labor all night. 
The next night, about ten o'clock, reached the court-house 
and had half a night's sleep. The next day I left Brother 
Samuel Major's. With him and Brother Sackett and Brother 
Mallett, whom I met for the first time, I went to the camp- 
ground at Asbury Meeting-house. There w^as no preacher 
from a distance but myself. Brother Bibb (the preacher in 
charge) and Brother Joseph Goodman being the only other 
preachers. The consequence was that I had most of the 
heavy work to perform. It rained almost incessantly after 
Sunday morning. I collected one hundred and twenty-five 
dollars in bonds for the college ; but it is such hard work." 

"August 25th. Rode to Mr. Stovall's, who is senator for 
the county, and who gave me fifty dollars on my scheme for 
the college. At night reached Halifax, and started off in the 
stage, reaching home on the night of the 27th. In all this 



PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE 113 

time I had been in dry sheets only one night, and yet am 
mercifully preserved." 

"August 29th. The sermon which I preached on the ist 
of August was remarkably blessed to the conversion of Pro- 
fessor Kern, who has since professed sanctification and is a 
happy soul. Thank God! I began to feel that I had lost 
my call. Glory be to the Comforter for this blessed revela- 
tion of Himself! " 

"Saturday, September 4th. Went to visit Sylva Grove 
School, Davidson County, N. C, the property of Charles 
Mock, Esq., twenty-four miles southwest of Greensboro, with 
some view of purchasing it." 

"September i8th. Went to Sylva Grove and concluded 
the bargain for Mock's place." 

" September 25th. Have changed the name of Sylva Grove 
to Glenanna, in honor of my precious wife." 

" October 27th. The Grand Division of the Sons of Tem- 
perance held its annual session in Salisbury, N. C, commenc- 
ing on the 25th of October. I was elected Worthy Associate. 
Having been put in nomination against L. Blakmer, Esq., I 
dechned votes, desiring to have him unanimously elected, be- 
lieving him to be entitled to the position. I am glad that I 
did this. It is always pleasant afterward to have denied one's 
selfishness. I was immediately elected Associate, and the 
Grand Division appointed Mr. Blakmer and myself to repre- 
sent them at the National Division to be held in Chicago next 
June. They give each one hundred dollars to pay expenses. 
I was- also able to help another friend by having the Rev. Peter 
Doub appointed Grand Lecturer of the State, on a respec- 
table salary. It is so pleasant to have influence to exert in 
behalf of the good and deserving ; it is the highest pleasure of 
my life, so far as intercourse with my fellow-men is concerned. 
At this Grand Division I made a move to nicite the people of 
the State to forward legislative action against the hquor traffic. 



114 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

I made the motion with Uttle hope of seeing it taken up so 
warmly and prosecuted so vigorously as it was. The Grand 
Division as a body resolved to petition the legislature, and 
appointed a committee, of which I was chairman, to draft a 
memorial to be scattered through the State for signers of all 
classes. These agents were appointed to lecture and obtain 
signatures to this memorial until December 15 th. The memo- 
rial to the legislature does not ask what I desire ; it is only 
such a one as we hope may obtain signers. Believing it a 
crime in the sight of God to sell liquor as a beverage, I would 
no more legislate for its regulation than for the regulation of 
adultery, theft, etc." 

" October 29th. Left Salisbury in the stage early in the 
morning and rode all day to Greensboro. Among my fellow- 
passengers were the Rev. Peter Doub and Philip J. White, the 
temperance lecturer. White is the most entertaining traveling 
companion I ever saw. At night simply stopped at home to 
have tea, kiss wife, shake hands with the folk of the college, 
and ofif again, Sunday evening, the 30th, reached Raleigh 
and stayed with S. H. Young." 

" On Tuesday, November 2d, went to Franklinton depot. 
Reached Louisburg same evening. Our session lasted eight 
days and was the most harmonious and pleasant I ever at- 
tended. The most important action, so far as I was concerned, 
was the assumption by the conference of the raising of fifteen 
thousand dollars necessary to complete the twenty thousand 
dollars' education fund. It is to be solicited by the preachers." 

" December 4th. My birthday. Damp, unpleasant, part 
of the day rainy. Rode to Pleasant Garden, Guilford, to 
deliver a temperance address. Am thirty-two years old. How 
the time flies! Alas, how little I have done! This is the 
sad song at the close of each year, and the old resolution is 
entered to do better. May God give me grace to make this 
next year the richest of my life!" 



PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE 115 

" December 24th. The session of the Annual Conference 
closed December 15th, and on Monday, 20th, I went to my 
place at Glenanna. Miss Nixon accompanied me. Met Miss 
Bronson on the evening of the 20th at John W. Thomas's. She 
will enter upon the principalship of Glenanna on the first Mon- 
day in January. Prepared a circular for Glenanna." 

" December 25th. The memorial to the legislature on the 
subject of the liquor traffic went up on the 20th of December 
with the signatures of more than ten thousand voters, more 
than four thousand ladies, and a number of youths, in all over 
fifteen thousand. This is a most glorious result, far beyond 
my expectations. For this I thank God, and I thank him that 
he gave me the spirit of this work and the courage to bring 
it before the people. The legislature did nothing, but the 
thing is now before the people, and the discussion will be kept 
up until we prohibit the traffic." 

"December 31st. During the past year I have delivered 
fifty-two discourses. This was small, but I remember how con- 
fined I am, and hope that having preached more than once a 
week on an average will not be considered too infrequent. 
The Lord have mercy upon me and forgive all my shortcom- 
ings! I desire to be as useful as possible. The total number 
of my discourses to the close of this year is nine hundred and 
eighty-eight." 

1853 

"January ist. I open the year with labor, commencing a 
new series of lectures on chemistry. I have also commenced 
the compilation of a cyclopedia of temperance matter. This 
is intended to be a work of permanent value.* At the close of 
the last year I concluded the publication of the ' Southern 
Methodist Pulpit ' after years of labor. In the several peri- 

* He never finished that undertaking. 



116 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

odicals and in many letters, I am receiving expressions of 
great regard for that publication." 

" April 24th. Mrs. Deems and all the children accom- 
panied me to Glenanna. Wife's first visit. Went on Friday, 
2 2d, the first anniversary of the birthday of our fourth child, 
whom we have fully concluded to call Edward Ernest.* Per- 
haps it is not much of a coincidence, but my family arrived 
at Greensboro College the day our third child, Minnie, was 
one year old." 

" May 3d. Discourse on Odd Fellowship at the dedica- 
tion of the hall of I. O. O. F. at Salem, N. C." 

" May 19th. Our annual commencement." 

"June loth, Chicago, 111. I was in attendance upon the 
National Division. Here became acquainted with Judge 
O'Neal of South Carolina, Neal Dow of Maine, General Car- 
ney of Ohio, Ohver of New York, and other co-laborers in 
the great temperance work." 

"July loth. A family meeting was held at my father-in- 
law's, Mr. Disosway's. The Rev. John Bagley thus signalized 
the event in a newspaper article : 

" ' On last Friday morning a pleasant ride of about forty 
miles from Richmond, on the Petersburg and Raleigh rail- 
roads, brought me to the depot at Stony Creek, where I found 
a friend waiting with a carriage, in which I was conveyed to 
Pleasant Grove, the residence of Israel D. Disosway, Esq., 
the father-in-law of Dr. Deems, where I spent several days in 
the most agreeable manner. Here I found one of those 
deeply interesting family gatherings which are so often seen in 
old Virginia. Brother George W. Deems, of the Virginia 
Conference, Dr. Deems, his gifted son, with their wives and 
children, had left their fields of labor for a season to meet once 
more on earth, probably for the last time that all would enjoy 
such a meeting. Eleven children and thirteen adults formed 

* He was finally named Edward Mark. 



PRESIDENT OF GREENSBORO COLLEGE 117 

the social band who had been thus brought together by the 
mysterious providences of God, to sit around the family board, 
to talk and sing and pray, to go to the house of God together, 
and then to take the parting hand and in different spheres to 
engage in the great battle of hfe. 

" ' As Dr. Deems had made an appointment to preach at 
Hall's on Sunday, Brother Covington had embraced the op- 
portunity to hold a meeting of several days. It was my priv- 
ilege to hear Dr. Deems and his father preach on the same 
day to quite a large country congregation. Owing to the 
smallness of the house, which would not accommodate all the 
female portion of the congregation, the services were con- 
ducted under an arbor. The doctor's text was John v. 40. 
For about an hour and a half the eloquent preacher enchained 
the attention of the congregation while he held up before his 
hearers the reasons why the glorious gospel of the Son of God 
is rejected by the mass of mankind. It is not my intention 
to attempt an analysis of the discourse. It was well adapted 
to produce conviction on the minds of sinners. It came like 
the breath of spring on the cold, frost-bound heart, and I trust 
that it produced in some the buddings of good desires, the 
blossoms of holy resolutions, and that it will yet bring forth 
the ripe fruit of faith, hope, and love.' 

" The degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon me 
by the authorities of Randolph-Macon College, June, 1853." 

" October 27th. At the meeting of the Grand Division of 
the Sons of Temperance in Wilmington I was chosen to be 
the Grand Worthy Patriarch by a very large vote." 

"November 12th. At the conference held in Raleigh I 
was elected to the General Conference at the head of the dele- 
gation. The confidence of brethren is pleasant." 

" December 5th. My thirty-third birthday fell on the Sab- 
bath, and was spent at home, the first so spent in many years." 

" December 25th. My father and his family visited me in 



118 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

November. The first number of the ' Ballot-box ' * issued in 
December. My soul, I hope, has greater desires after holi- 
ness! During the past year my discourses amounted to forty- 
eight, of which twenty-five were new. The total number of 
my discourses to the close of the year is one thousand and 
thirty-six. Oh, how deeply I feel my feebleness!" 

1854 

" The Rev. Professor Jones enters upon his duties. May we 
be mutually profitable." 

" On Monday, April 24th, started, in company with the Rev. 
Dr. Carter, to attend the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, to be held in Columbus, Ga." 

" April 28th. Reached Augusta, Ga., and early next morning 
we were in Macon, thence to dine in Columbus. My residence 
was with Joel Early Hunt, Esq., at Wynnton, a delightful resi- 
dence. My room-mates were the Rev. H. N. McTyeire, editor 
of the ' New Orleans Christian Advocate,' and W. H. McDan- 
iel, P. E., Talladega district, Alabama. The principal work done 
was the determination to establish a Southern Book Concern, 
and the location thereof in Nashville, the improvements in 
missionary and publishing plans, and the election of three 
bishops. Pierce, Early, and Kavanaugh. The first was elected 
on the first ballot, the second upon the fifth, and the third 
upon the seventh ballot. For the election of Dr. Early and 
Mr. Kavanaugh I may hold myself responsible, as I suppose 
that without the effort I made they would not have been 
chosen. Believing them to be best entitled to the place, I am 
happy in reflecting upon the part I took in this matter." 

"On Monday morning, May 2 2d, was born my fifth child 
and fourth son, George Israel. May God consecrate him to 
Himself and set him apart to a high and holy work! " 

* A small periodical devoted to the cause of temperance legislation. 



PRESIDENT OE GREENSBORO COLLEGE 119 

"July 30th. Elected president of Centenary College, 
Louisiana." 

The North Carolina Conference met in Pittsboro in 1854. 
During its session it passed the following resolutions : 

" Whereas, We have learned that the Rev. C. F. Deems, 
D.D., has been elected to the presidency of Centenary Col- 
lege, Louisiana, and is now considering the acceptance of the 
same ; therefore, 

"Resolved, That, while we appreciate the honor thus con- 
ferred upon one of our body by one of the highest institutions 
of learning in the country, and while we regard him in the 
highest sense in every way qualified in intellect, integrity, and 
learning, yet we beg our brother to consider the state of the 
work in North Carolina, both as regards the pastorate and in- 
stitutions of learning, and if he can find it consistent with his 
duty to the church, that he decline the presidency of Cente- 
nary College." 

Following a copy of these resolutions in his journal for 
December, Dr. Deems writes : 

" I did decline the call, and my reasons are embodied in my 
letter to the Rev. Dr. Drake, dated November 18, 1854. 
Upon declining the presidency of the largest institution of 
learning in our church, I could not reconcile it with my sense 
of propriety to retain the headship of a more limited sphere, 
and so I resigned the presidency of Greensboro College, and 
was appointed to Goldsboro ciixuit, the Rev, Ira T. Wyche 
being presiding elder." 

Thus it appears that ever within he heard the old call that 
he had heard when a student in Dickinson College, where he 
had solemnly consecrated his whole life to "preach Christ, 
and him crucified." Therefore, when he had securely assured 
the future prosperity of the college by showing on what lines 
it should be conducted, he determined to take up again the 



120 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

regular ministry. It need hardly be said that while rendering 
these great special and substantial services to his denomina- 
tion, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and to the cause 
of education in general, Dr. Deems was also rapidly increas- 
ing his own personal fame and greatly widening the circle of 
his loving admirers ; for in this, as in everything he had so far 
seriously undertaken, he displayed the possession of qualities 
not often found in the same person. The brilliant pulpit ora- 
tor had shown himself to be an almost ideal college president. 
He had a rare faculty for maintaining disciphne, and so rare 
was this that the writer feels himself unable satisfactorily to 
describe it. He was not a severe man in either appearance 
or disposition, but quite the opposite in both of these respects. 
He appeared to have ruled by a kind of moral authority and 
persuasiveness, unless he did so by the profound respect for 
his sincerity which he inspired in all who were brought into 
close relationship with him. There was a moral dignity about 
him in such exercises that seemed like the judicial ermine and 
other insignia of right to rule. Whatever that gift of ruling 
may be, whether a single quality or a union of qualities. Dr. 
Deems possessed it in a notable manner and to a high degree. 
But by the time he had reached the close of his Greensboro 
experience he had shown himself to be also a thorough busi- 
ness man. He \vas a whole committee on ways and means 
in himself when it came to the devising of schemes and 
methods for the raising of funds. Much of this he had 
learned in the hard school of poverty through which we have 
seen him passing while as yet even a mere boy. The youth 
who could help pay his way through college by wTiting 
" poems " for the press had become, with all his higher achieve- 
ments, a systematic, painstaking business man in his habits 
and methods, while his innate sagacity had developed by ex- 
perience until he was able to, and did, put this poor college 
on a paying basis. 



CHAPTER III 

CIRCUIT-RIDING, 1855-56 

APPOINTED by the North CaroHna Annual Conference 
l\. of 1854 to the Everittsville circuit when he resigned the 
presidency of Greensboro Female College, Dr. Deems went 
to his work early in 1855, making his home at Goldsboro, the 
county-seat of Wayne County, and the largest place on the 
circuit. He entered the little parsonage Saturday, January 
i3j 1855. Goldsboro was, and has continued to be, quite a 
railroad center, being one of the principal stations on the Wil- 
mington and Weldon Railroad, which was the main route 
from the North to the South. The Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, had a female seminary in Goldsboro, whose 
president, the Rev. Samuel M. Frost, was a good friend of Dr. 
Deems, as was also the Rev. Dr. Ira T. Wyche, who was then 
the presiding elder of the Newbern district, which included 
the Goldsboro circuit. 

In a letter from New York City, written November 2, 1880, 
Dr. Deems thus writes about the good presiding elder of the 
Newbern district : 

" How shall I write of Ira T. Wyche? He was my friend 
from the earhest years of my ministry until he went up higher. 
He was a good man, so true, so faithful, so forbearing, so per- 
sistent in duty! He served his friends in darkness as in sun- 
shine, and his friendship looked for no reward. He served 
in every department of conference work and served so faith- 

121 



122 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

fully! He could be trusted with anything and everything. 
I know that my friends regard me as no judge of preaching, 
and I suspect they are right. My talent for hearing the Word 
is so great that it neutralizes any little critical ability there is 
in me. But I delighted in the preaching of Ira T. Wyche. 
It struck me. One discourse of his, preached long ago, so 
fixed its oudine on my memory that on several occasions I 
have used it, so modifying it as to make it available for my 
style of delivery. It has been blessed to the conversion of 
many souls. There is a little incident connected with this 
discourse. A few years ago I was engaged one week-night 
to preach in the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity in this 
city. By some mismanagement a marriage party had posses- 
sion of the church, and the rector caused the great congrega- 
tion to be turned into Dr. Hepworth's. There I preached this 
sermon. At the conclusion of one passage the Rev. Dr. Tyng 
was so warmed up that he shouted out a hearty ' Amen.' As 
we rode home my wife said that she never expected to hear 
an Episcopal clergyman saying a loud ' Amen ' to a sermon 
preached in a Congregational church. ' Ah, my dear, it was 
Ira T. Wyche's sermon, and any man can say " Amen " to 
almost anything of his.' That sermon has since been printed 
and circulated widely. The Lord wall reward each man ac- 
cording to his work. For the pleasure of his intercourse, for 
the fidelity of his friendship, and for his influence upon my 
personal character, I owe our dear departed friend so much 
that when the telegram reached me announcing his death, this 
new bereavement, following so soon on the departure of Mrs. 
Nicholson, melted my heart within me. I have reached that 
time of hfe when the majority of my comrades and friends are 
on the other side of the river. Now Ira T. Wyche has joined 
not only the majority, but the innumerable company of those 
who have washed their robes and made them white in the 
blood of the Lamb." 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 123 

71ie only record of events in the life of Dr. Deems in 
Goldsboro is contained in a small pocket-diary, and even this 
has only brief jottings, evidendy hastily entered while engaged 
in the restless and absorbing work of an itinerant Methodist 
minister. Most of his time was spent away from his family 
at the various points on his circuit. From his record of ser- 
mons preached we learn that his preaching appointments were 
Goldsboro, Everittsville, Live Oak, Providence, Falling Creek, 
Indian Springs, Friendship, Smith's Chapel, Ebenezer, Salem, 
and Pikeville. Some of these churches were out in the pine 
woods, and attended by people who had to walk or ride for 
miles in order to hear the gospel. 

In the opinion of some, a change from the presidency of a 
college to a Methodist circuit might be regarded a degrada- 
tion. Dr. Deems looked upon it as a promotion, and flung 
himself into his work with a zest and ambition never excelled 
at any other period of his life. He preached to his congre- 
gations in the villages and woods of the Everittsville circuit in 
the spirit of the Master as he poured into the rapt soul of the 
woman at Jacob's well the wonderful spiritual truths recorded 
in the fourth chapter of John's Gospel. Nor were Dr. Deems's 
labors lessened by his exchange of a college presidency for a 
circuit ; the rather did they become more abundant and press- 
ing. No greater mistake could be made than to suppose that 
the life of an itinerant Methodist preacher in North Carolina 
in those days was an easy one. 

On some circuits the preacher finds large compensations for 
his trials in picturesque scenery and invigorating air ; but the 
Everittsville circuit was not favored in these ways. The roads 
were either very sandy or ran through swamps whose mud 
was bottomless, and they stretched through a generally flat and 
uninteresting country, whose monotony was somewhat relieved 
by vast fields of green and waving corn or glistening white 
cotton. Moreover, in summer the heat was intense and the 



124 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

air freighted with malarial gases from the swamps. Dr. Deems 
found his compensation in his joy at being able to preach 
again, and in the keen and affectionate appreciation of his 
labors by the people on his circuit, among whom were many 
bright and refined women and able, earnest, prosperous, hos- 
pitable, and godly men. 

Dr. Deems himself gives us a most interesting insight into 
his life on the Everittsville circuit (1855-56) in a letter to the 
"Raleigh Christian Advocate" of April 15, 1885, written on 
the occasion of the death of one of his most faithful friends 
and co-workers : 

" A few weeks ago a North Carolina paper brought us the 
announcement of the death of David B. Everitt in Goldsboro. 
My whole family felt a sudden sorrow. The younger mem- 
bers had so often heard their parents speak in loving terms of 
the man who bore that name that they felt a claim to be his 
friends. 

"When I quit the presidency of Greensboro Female Col- 
lege in 1854 I was sent to Everittsville circuit. I think that 
was its name, although it embraced Goldsboro. There I met 
David B. Everitt. His plantation was some miles from the 
village which bore his name, where he lived near a little church 
which was one of the preaching appointments on the circuit. 
We were not long in becoming fast friends. We were as un- 
like in body and mind as two men could well be, and perhaps 
therefore we loved each other. He was very large, bluflf, loud 
of speech, sometimes boisterous, but gentle of heart as a 
woman. He was a thorough Methodist; perhaps he was 
considered by some a bigoted Methodist ; but he was simply 
a brave, conscientious, earnest soul— a soul that had been 
converted. He had no doubt of that ; neither had any of his 
friends. He was not a mere church-member; he had been 
converted. He no more doubted it than he doubted his birth. 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 125 

Converted under Methodism, he knew no other way. But he 
was not bigoted ; he had friends in other churches and he 
loved and honored them— but he was a Methodist. I know 
men of that type among Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episco- 
pahans, and it is always a charming type to me. These men 
do not deny the good that is in other churches, but they are 
not familiar with it, while they do know the good that is in 
their own. In them what superficial observers take for igno- 
rance is mere innocence. Of all guile, malice, meanness, and 
uncharitableness David B. Everitt was as free as any man I 
ever knew. 

" And then, I think he had a great desire to know the truth. 
This was shown in whatever interested him. Many things did 
not interest him ; they lay beyond his circle of thought ; but 
if anything did attract his attention he was earnestly solicitous 
to go to the bottom of it. He could listen wonderfully and 
question closely. 

" He was very ardent in his friendships, and steadfast. 
Within three miles of him were two other men, his intimates, 
William Carraway and David McKinne. Such another trio 
I never knew and probably never shall know. They were so 
large and so loud. I venture a sketch to show the character- 
istics of these men. I remember the first time I saw them 
together. They had gone down to Indian Springs, where the 
new preacher was to hold forth. We four started together for 
Everittsville and brought up at William Carraway's. In the 
after-dinner conversation the talk turned on some question of 
the yield of crops on their several plantations. It waxed 
warm. Sometimes all three talked together. Carraway roared, 
McKinne bellowed, and Everitt yelled. They were all red in 
the face, and their faces were very large. It was an unhappy 
moment for me. I had never been in Mr. Carraway's house 
before, Mr. McKinne I had just met, and Mr. Everitt was a 
recent acquaintance. What should I do? If those 'bulls of 



126 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Bashan ' locked horns what was I? I could not prevent a 
general fight. And just from church! And all official mem- 
bers of the church of which I was pastor! At last I ven- 
tured very meekly to suggest, in most modest terms, that the 
' brethren ' might all be right, or if all wrong, was it really a 
question for neighbors, members of the same church, to be 
excited about? At this suggestion they all looked at me, and 
then at one another, and then burst into roars of laughter that 
literally jarred the house. They were accustomed to * chaff ' 
one another in this free, rough manner, and it never had oc- 
curred to them that a stranger might take it for quarreling. 
When they saw from my face that I did regard it seriously, 
the ludicrousness of the situation was too much for them. Mr. 
Everitt laughed until tears ran down his face. 

" After that, how often I have seen tears on those great faces, 
when those three men have engaged with me in prayer for 
the spiritual improvement of the neighborhood or the conver- 
sion of some special neighbor! And they have all crossed the 
flood before me! 

" Gentlest at heart of them all, perhaps, was David B. 
Everitt. How much I have desired in the last two years to 
see him! And I was planning to enjoy that pleasure when the 
news of his death came. I have seen no notice of his last 
hours and heard nothing. It is not needful that I should. 
Such a man's life, of gentleness and force, of cheerful sobriety, 
of fixed principle, of humble, happy faith, is the testimonial 
most precious to his friends. May some other in his church 
be raised to take his place, and may his children be Christians 
after the manner of their father! Very dear to me forever 
will be the cherished name of David B. Everitt. 

" Charles F. Deems. 

" Church of the Strangers, 
" March 31, 1885." 



CIKCUIT-RIDING 127 

While editor of " Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine " in New 
York City, many years afterward, Dr. Deems, writing of an- 
other of his parishioners of a very different, but equally inter- 
esting, type, said : 

" Some years ago, among the churches to which the editor 
of this magazine ministered in North Carolina was one called 
' Smith's Chapel.' It would seat about two hundred white 
and one hundred colored people. But in that climate a large 
part of the year a considerable portion of the congregation 
sat outside. The nearest house to the httle chapel was the 
dwelling of a gentleman who was one of the most famous 
school-teachers in his native State. He was the college-mate 
of James K. Polk, and the first time we ever saw him was 
when he had just completed a walk of fifty miles to meet his 
old college friend at the university. 

" Mr. John G. Elliot got his middle initial from his resem- 
blance to a ghost. He was usually known as ' Mr. Ghost 
Elliot.' Small, thin, washed out by multitudinous ablutions, 
built after the architectural design of an interrogation-mark, 
with a disproportionately large head, the white hair on which 
was cropped to a length measured exactly by the thickness of 
the comb, he was a man whose appearance attracted attention 
everywhere. In some departments he was very learned, and 
his solid acquirements dominated his eccentricities and won 
for him the respect of a large class of citizens. He was what 
the colored people would call ' a powerful hearer of de Word.' 
Upon warm days he would walk into the meeting-house, throw 
his coat, if he had one, over the back of his seat, pull off his 
shoes to cool his understandmg, and propping his head against 
his left hand and supporting his left elbow with his right hand, 
he set himself to penetrate the speaker with auger eyes. The 
thing his soul most hated was nonsense. He had no kind of 
reverence. He would take up a slave or the Archbishop of 



128 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Canterbury with equal patience, and by Socratic methods ex- 
hibit to him the ridiculousness of his errors. 

" If within the reach of practicability, Mr. Ghost Elliot was 
always at any service this editor held within his range. There 
are readers of this magazine in North Carolina who, when 
they peruse this article, will recollect how sometimes, when an 
assertion had been roundly made by the preacher, Mr. Elliot 
would rise in his place and say, ' Doctor, what is supposed 
among theologians to be the proof of that? ' Or, ' Doctor, I 
have heard that circumstance stated quite differently.' Or, 
' Doctor, that statement of yours has been publicly denied in 
the papers.' 

"There was no laughing. Mr. Elliot was the oracle of that 
neighborhood. There were boys about there whom his skep- 
tical ideas had infected ; there were people in that audience 
not to be surpassed in what is called ' a Boston audience ' ; 
and Joseph Cook never ran a severer gantlet in the Athens 
of America than the young professor from the university ran 
in that chapel in the pine woods. No one laughed ; every one 
listened ; and if Mr. Elliot had frequently got the better of 
the preacher the preacher's occupation would have been gone. 

" To this day we feel the healthy influence of that instanta- 
neous criticism. To this day, in preaching every now and 
then, it occurs to us that somewhere in the church there may 
be a ' Ghost EUiot,' who does not ' speak out in meeting,' but 
carries the objection away in his soul. Would it not be bet- 
ter that men should speak out? " 

Saturday morning, February 17, 1855, Dr. Deems preached 
at Salem. While driving home he met with an accident, from 
which he suffered greatly and by which he was confined to 
the house for about two weeks. He thus speaks of this ex- 
perience in the entry in his diary for the above date : " Flung 
from my buggy coming home. Badly hurt, but, thank God, 
preserved." By this accident his ankle was sprained, and so 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 129 

seriously as to trouble him all his life thereafter. During his 
confinement at this time he wrote his lecture entitled " Trade 
Life," which became quickly very popular in North Carolina 
and the neighboring States. It was while returning from 
Petersburg, Va., where he had been for the purpose of deliver- 
ing this lecture, that he was shocked by the intelligence of the 
death of his little baby boy, George, who at eleven o'clock at 
night on Wednesday, March 14th, had fallen asleep in Jesus. 
As he has not only embalmed the precious little one's memory, 
but also brought out an interesting truth in his characteristic 
style, in an article, published in 1880, entitled "The Czar and 
the Babe," we here give our readers the article in full. 

"the czar and the babe 

"On the 17th of March, 1855, I was coming from Peters- 
burg, Va., to my home in North Carohna. In the car was a 
gendeman with New York papers bearing the intelligence of 
the recent death of Nicholas, autocrat of all the Russias. He 
was gone. A man of great stature, of iron will, of vast ener- 
gies, a born king, ruling fifty millions by his simple word, he 
had bowed to destiny and death and dropped the scepter which 
swayed an empire. He had died at a crisis in which he was 
the most conspicuous and important personage among men, 
at such a juncture in affairs as will draw an arresting line across 
the page of human history. He had roused the world to arms. 
He had brought thousands into fortified towns and stretched 
tents and camp-fires along miles of hills and valleys. The 
stride of his ambition had made troops of orphan children and 
thrilled the nation with woe. He was known to all the world, 
and his history, his words, his deeds, his policy, were the study 
of all who read or thought. But he had gone. Europe stood 
still and held its breath as the curtain dropped upon the co- 
lossal actor on a stage trembling with the thunder of artillery 



130 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

and red with the gore of the gallant. And then the cabinets 
of all governments, and the traders upon the marts of the 
busy nations, began industriously to calculate the probable 
effects of this great departure upon all the operations of man- 
kind ; and Russia was preparing to bury the ' father ' with 
mingled barbaric pomp and civilized splendor. 

" I was not indifferent to the importance of such an event 
as the death of the emperor, but it stirred my heart very little. 
I was far off. 

" Twenty miles farther south I heard of another death. In 
this case it was a babe only ten months old. He was heir to 
no great estate or title. He was known to very few, and very 
few had any interest in him ; he had never uttered a word. 
He was in no one's way. His life made no great promise. 
He had always been delicate. He was a mere intelligent, 
'pretty Httle fellow,' as his father was fond of calling him. 
He was dead. How sad, how very sad a thought was this to 
me! He was ^ our little George.^ 

" All the potentates of Europe might have died and my heart 
have felt no pain. But this was a near grief. This was the 
first departure from the little flock. There was no pomp at 
his funeral. He lay calm and lovely in his little coffin — beau- 
tifully dead. His brothers and his little sister stood in the 
awe which the first invasion of the invisible feet makes in a 
family. A few friends went from the humble house of the 
bereaved living to the humble resting-place of the shrouded 
dead. No retinue, no plumes, no emblazonry of ostentatious 
sorrow, marked the child's removal to his last home. 

" But he was our babe. How little thought his mother of 
the grand griefs of a European empire! Her little kingdom 
was darkened. While we had read accounts of the slaughters 
which marked the Crimean campaign, and shuddered at the 
desolations they must have brought thousands of homes, none 
of the thrilling reports had penetrated and agonized us like the 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 131 

sight of our own dead. Nothing I ever read or saw or felt 
transfixed me with sucli cold pain as the kiss of the little hands 
folded over the heart of our serene and breathless boy. They 
were beautiful hands. How often I had admired them as he 
clapped them when his earnest gaze had brightened into a 
smile and broadened into infantile glee! How often had they 
pressed their soft little palms upon my aching head, and buried 
their little dimples under my chin! Death had not discolored 
the lovely flesh, but had made it clearer and finer, as if it had 
been purged of all taints of corruption. And so I could hardly 
believe him dead. But when I stooped to kiss those hands 
for the last time they met my lips with such an unexpected 
chill that I felt stricken. It was as though I had been stabbed 
in the heart with a dagger of ice. 

" Oh, how different the far and the near! A quarter of a 
century Hes between that death and this writing, but that dead 
babe to-day has more power over me than any living man. 
He walks the streets with me. He goes to all the funerals of 
infants. Before his death I did not know how to talk at the 
funeral of a babe. Now I know at least how to sympathize 
with the parents. When a man comes into my house and 
tells me with quivering lips that there is a baby lying dead in 
his home, I go with him, led by the hand of a Httle child 
whose mortal body was buried a quarter of a century ago. 

" Charles F. Deems." 

During the month of May a fruitful revival of religion re- 
warded Dr. Deems's work at his Indian Springs appointment. 
Thirty-four were added to the church. Of those added more 
than half were heads of families, and quite a number were 
past middle life. Dr. Deems baptized twenty of these con- 
verts, eleven of whom he immersed in the river. It was a 
most gracious season, in which some signal victories were 
achieved by the Holy Spirit's conversion of persons regarded 



132 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

as hopelessly ungodly. Similar works of grace occurred in 
other portions of the circuit, which were most cheering to the 
faithful pastor. 

About this time, greatly to his gratification, he was invited 
to preach the commencement sermon at Greensboro Female 
College. This, on May 15th, he did most acceptably, and 
while in Greensboro at commencement he was honored by 
being made president of the board of trustees of the college. 

From Greensboro he made a visit to Glenanna. This 
was a seminary for young ladies which Dr. Deems founded 
while he was president of Greensboro College and owned and 
supervised for a number of years. The object of the school 
was to prepare young ladies for college, especially for Greens- 
boro College. It was situated in Davidson County, one mile 
from Thomasville, which was on the Central Railroad. The 
location was picturesque and healthful, and the school was a 
center of refined culture and influence. While this school was 
a care and responsibility to Dr. Deems during his itinerancy, 
yet it was a source of intense gratification that while preaching 
he was also teaching for the Master. 

Notwithstanding the inevitable interruptions in his life on 
the Everittsville circuit, he did considerable writing for the 
press, and in September published a new edition of his " Twelve 
College Sermons." An idea of the pubhc estimate of this 
book may be gained from the following criticism by the 
" Home Circle," of Nashville, Tenn. : 

" Dr. Deems is one of the most racy writers of our acquain- 
tance, and the public will expect to find in this volume a fine 
specimen of correct and elegant rhetoric. In this they will 
not be disappointed ; but they will find that its belles-lettres 
merits are, as they should be, the merest accessories to the 
great end of preaching. When it became known to us that 
these discoiu"ses were produced by a very young professor of 
bcllcs-lcttrcs^ which the author was at the time of their com- 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 133 

position, we expected to find in them an undue amount of 
'fine writing.' We were agreeably disappointed. If there be 
anything of the sort in them, it is not more than the reader 
will relish ; and we feel bound to say that, as far as we have 
observed, every artificial merit that they possess promotes the 
religious purpose of the sermons. Every rill that sparkles 
through them helps to swell the tide of the author's exhorta- 
tion; every vine has its cluster; every flower brings fruit." 

It was at this time that Dr. Deems wrote to the Rev. Dr. 
Sprague, of Albany, the letter referring to Summerfield quoted 
in the autobiographical notes. By both pen and tongue he 
also did all in his power to assist the cause of temperance, so 
dear to his heart from his youth, being an ardent advocate of 
legal prohibition, and being greatly in demand as a lecturer on 
this theme. His temperance oration delivered in the hall of 
the South Carolina Institute at Charleston, on June 6th, elic- 
ited from the press the most glowing encomiums. 

From his diary we learn that on Saturday, June 23d, Dr. 
Deems delivered a masonic address at Long Creek, Duphn 
County, having been invited to do so by his masonic friends 
in that region. He had been raised to the sublime degree of 
Master Mason by the Greensboro Lodge, No. 76, on October 
4, 1852. He had been made a Fellow-craft Mason by the 
same lodge on September 7, 1852. The record of his being 
made an Entered Apprentice Mason has been misplaced. 
For the above facts we are indebted to Mr. W. D. Trotter, of 
Greensboro, N. C, who was Worthy Master of the lodge in 
1884. Dr. Deems kept up his interest in masonry all his hfe, 
taking the degrees beyond the " Blue Lodge " as far up as the 
commandery. At the time of his death he was a member of 
Kane Lodge, Crescent Chapter, and Palestine Commandery, 
all of New York City, and in all of which he was for years 
chaplain. Among his many friends Dr. Deems had none 
more faithful and enthusiastic than his masonic brethren. In 



134 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

1846 he had become an Odd Fellow, but he did not keep up 
active membership. 

Fever and ague, eye troubles, and other physical ailments 
annoyed him exceedingly during the latter half of 1855, but 
do not appear to have cooled his zeal or lessened his labors. 
On July loth he wrote the prospectus of the " North Carolina 
Christian Advocate " ; on Sunday, July 29th, he dedicated 
Smith's Chapel, Wayne County ; in September he commenced 
work on "The Annals of Southern Methodism," of which 
more will be said later ; and attended the Annual Conference in 
"Wilmington, N. C, Wednesday, November 14th, where, among 
other things, he delivered an address on " Education," and was 
reappointed to the Everittsville circuit. 

Leaving Goldsboro on Saturday, December ist. Dr. Deems 
went to Petersburg, Va., to attend the annual meeting of the 
Virginia Conference, at which Bishop Andrew presided. The 
business which took him to this meeting was of a most painful 
nature ; although only thirty-five years old, he was to be one 
of the principal figures in an important and complicated ec- 
clesiastical trial. As the chief personages involved are dead 
and in heaven, and as they forgave one another before their 
death any and all real or imagined injuries they had sustained, 
and as a complete account of the affair would fill a volume, 
we see nothing to be gained by giving names or going into 
details. But to ignore altogether what is history, and what 
at the time excited the Methodist Church, South, more than 
any other controversy (that concerning slavery excepted), 
would be a fatal omission in any biographical account of 
Charles F. Deems, who, though the innocent cause of it all, 
became thereby involved in a miserable tangle of miscon- 
ception, misrepresentation, and malicious persecution, which, 
while it temporarily clouded his reputation in certain quarters, 
yet stimulated the development of his mental and moral char- 
acter and enabled him to present to those who followed him 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 135 

closely through the long, hot trial — and they were thousands — 
a splendid example of moral courage, unswerving integrity, 
Christian forbearance, and fearless candor. On Tuesday, 
December i8th, Dr. Deems dehvered his closing argument in 
the case. This address was in many particulars the master- 
piece of his life. It was four hours long, but was heard with 
breathless attention by the vast congregation assembled. 
When the vote of conference was taken the defendant in the 
trial was acquitted by a bare majority of his brethren. 

Nevertheless Dr. Deems found that he had suddenly leaped 
to a lofty place in the esteem of the people of the South as 
being an able, eloquent, and godly man. In Petersburg itself, 
although he had been the prosecutor in the trial of an eminent 
doctor of divinity in the Virginia Conference, he received a 
remarkable ovation, costly family Bibles and elegantly bound 
hymn-books and glowing resolutions and elaborate silver 
plate being the visible tokens of the popular verdict. 

When he returned to North Carolina he was received like a 
conqueror ; and such he was, but greater than the victor in any 
bloody battle, for he had by his courage, self-control, and 
splendid genius won a victory for public truth and justice. 
From every part of the State, from Weldon to Wilmington, 
from Goldsboro to Greensboro, public meetings were held and 
resolutions were passed, and the name of Charles F. Deems 
became a household word throughout all her borders, and so 
remains to this day. The older children in Dr. Deems's family 
well remember the opening of a box which came a few weeks 
after the Virginia Conference adjourned, and was addressed to 
the Rev. Charles F. Deems. The brilliant contents when set 
forth were dazzling to our young eyes. The box contained a 
very beautiful and costly service of silver plate. With painful 
eagerness we deciphered the following inscription : " Presented 
by the citizens of Petersburg, Va., to Charles F. Deems, Doc- 
tor of Divinity, 'in the dew of his youth,' as an evidence of 



136 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

their appreciation of his virtuous Hfe and exalted worth, and 
especially as a memento of their admiration of his moral cour- 
age, his powers of speech, his Christian spirit, as displayed by 

him on the trial of before the Annual Conference 

of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Petersburg, Va., 
in 1855." 

We remember also the advent of a large and splendidly 
bound copy of the Holy Bible, on the fly-leaf of which was 
this inscription: "Rev. Charles F. Deems, D.D. : Accept the 
Holy Bible as a token of esteem and affection. May a good 
and merciful God long spare your life, and may you continue 
to be, as you have been, a faithful and able expounder and 
defender of its sacred truths ; and may it ever be a lamp unto 
your feet and a hght unto your pathway, guiding you to 
heaven, is the sincere prayer of the givers. Petersburg, Va., 
December 18, 1855." 

That prayer was answered in every particular and to the 
uttermost. Upon the volume was laid a sumptuously bound 
copy of the hymns of the Southern Methodist Church, with the 
following note : " This little volume is gratefully presented to 
Dr. Deems as a tribute to his splendid talents. Christian purity, 
and gendemanly bearing through this trying controversy. The 
following ladies are proud to bear testimony in his favor and 
to subscribe themselves his admirers." The ladies of Peters- 
burg, after their names, signed themselves, " Members of the 
Episcopal Church." 

In the corner of the parlor of the little Goldsboro parsonage 
stood a goodly number of ebony canes with gold heads, bear- 
ing each the name of Charles F. Deems, D.D., the name of 
the donor, the date of the gift, and an indication that it was 
an expression of appreciation of the genius and character of 
the recipient, especially as brought out at the Virginia Con- 
ference of 1855. 

And so It came about that a year which at one time 



CIRCUIT-RIDING 137 

threatened to close with dark clouds closed flooded with 
sunshine. 

Sometime during 1855 Dr. Deems conceived the idea of 
" The Annals of Southern Methodism," and during the latter 
part of 1855 and in 1856 and 1857 he published an annual vol- 
ume of about three hundred pages with that title. The author's 
purpose was to furnish once each year a volume which should 
present in a collected form all that was desirable for full in- 
formation in regard to the workings and growth of the Southern 
Methodist Church. The titles of the chapters of the volume 
for 1856 are as follows: "The Episcopacy"; "The Annual 
Conferences"; "Dedication of Churches"; "Missions"; 
" Colleges and Schools " ; " Sunday-schools " ; " Tract Soci- 
ety"; "Southern Methodist Literature"; "Our People of 
Color"; "Historical Sketches"; "Biographical Sketches"; 
" Personal Notices of the Living " ; and " Miscellaneous." The 
editor gleaned his information from a multitude of books, pe- 
riodicals, and persons, at the cost of much time and tedious 
toil. Four volumes came out, which by their variety, logical 
arrangement, and accuracy of detail showed what a many- 
sided mind the editor possessed. In reviewing the volume for 
1855, the "Home Circle," of Nashville, Tenn., said: "There 
can be no sort of doubt about the success of this book. It 
will have an enormous circulation. One can scarcely think 
of a question in the last year's history of Southern Methodism 
which is not answered here. The idea of making an annual 
contribution of this sort to oiu" literature is a happy conception. 
Another egg stands on end! How can we, after this, do 
without it? Why was it not thought of sooner? The edi- 
tor's rare talents and tireless industry have been worthily em- 
ployed, and he is entided to our thanks— not so much for the 
copy sent us (we could have bought it cheap at five times the 
cost, one dollar), but for the invention of the thing and for 
the promise of an annual series." 



138 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

By request, Dr. Deems attended the commencement exer- 
cises at Hampden-Sidney College, Virginia, in 1856. On June 
25th he delivered before the Philanthropic Society a lecture 
on "The True Basis of Manhood." While he had delivered 
other lectures, this one first attracted public attention to Dr. 
Deems as a lecturer. The " American Phrenological Journal," 
in its sketch of Dr. Deems's life, states that " of this effort a 
distinguished logician of the South said, ' It shows the highest 
capabilities as a thinker and a writer.' " 

Dr. Deems's interest in education was so great, his experi- 
ence so wide and varied, and his talents as an orator so con- 
spicuous, that he was in great demand every summer at the 
various college and school commencements. These visits to 
educational institutions did not interfere with his regular work 
on the circuit, which was prosecuted with vigor and success, 
while he continued to win souls and build up saints on their 
most holy foundation. 

On September 30, 1856, his heart and home were gladdened 
by the birth of his sixth child, a daughter, who was named 
Anna Louise. All who knew Dr. Deems when living remem- 
ber his fondness for babes. He always took them in his 
arms when administering the holy sacrament of baptism and 
kissed them. The little ones ever seemed by instinct to rec- 
ognize in him a friend, and it was most unusual for a child to 
refuse to get into his outstretched arms. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE WILMINGTON PARISH, 1 857-58 

THE North Carolina Annual Conference for 1856 was 
held in Greensboro from November 12th to November 
20th. Bishop Early presided. Dr. Deems was appointed to 
the Front Street Methodist Church in Wilmington. The Rev. 
D. B. Nicholson was presiding elder of Wilmington district, 
and was held in the highest esteem by Dr. Deems, as were 
all of the Nicholson family. 

Wilmington was then, as it is now, the metropolis of the 
State and an important center of influence, because of its situ- 
ation on the Cape Fear River, with a commodious harbor and 
extensive internal navigation and railway connections. The 
Front Street Church was one of the strongest stations in the 
conference, which paid Dr. Deems a high compliment when 
it sent him there. He entered upon his work in January, 
1856. To the gratification of all concerned, he was reap- 
pointed to the Front Street Church by the conference which 
met at Goldsboro in December, 1857. 

The Front Street Church was a spacious building, situated 
on a comer and in a desirable part of the city. It had galleries 
which were always reserved for the colored people of the 
congregation, for whom the doctor also held special Sunday 
afternoon services, and among whom he quickly became 
popular. The membership, already large, greatly increased 

139 



140 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

during the two years of his pastorate. Into the work of or- 
ganization, pastoral visitation, and preaching he here flung 
himself with characteristic energy and ability. Invitations to 
preach at revival services, to address schools and colleges and 
other institutions, poured in upon him, and his letters during 
these two years show how frequently he had to decline such 
calls. But to a few of them he responded favorably, because 
of special claims upon him — as in the cases of the Goldsboro 
and Greensboro female colleges. 

Not long after the home was established in Wilmington a 
little incident occurred which is of interest and might have had 
a tragic conclusion. His family, fearing a breakdown from 
overwork, persuaded him to tear himself away from his studies 
and other toils and go fishing with his three sons. Accordingly, 
one day the little party of four, armed with fishing-rods and 
supplied with luncheon, tramped up to Hilton Bridge on the 
Cape Fear River. While they were strung along the bank 
and watching their corks with eager expectancy, their father 
ambitiously attempted to walk across some logs lying in the 
water and thus reach a very " fishy "-looking place in the river. 
But alas! one of the logs turned with him, and in he plunged, 
going in over his head. While the youngest of his sons wept 
and wrung his hands, the two older boys with great difficulty 
managed to get their father on shore. But he was drenched, 
and had to walk some miles in wet clothing ; moreover, this 
experience brought on sickness, from which Dr. Deems took 
months to recover. It is to this incident that he alludes in the 
following article, which appeared in the " Christian Intelligen- 
cer," November 30, 1892, and which we insert as showing his 
opinions and habits with regard to hunting and fishing. To 
the best of our knowledge and belief. Dr. Deems never fired a 
pistol or shot-gun in his life ; he had neither time nor taste 
for entrapping or slaying the inhabitants of the woods and 
waters. 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 141 



WHAT I KNOW ABOUT FISHING 



" From what I have accomphshed in the piscatory hne, if 
any one should infer 'what I know about fishing,' he would 
conclude that I was as well up on that subject as my old friend 
Horace Greeley was on another, when he wrote ' What I 
Know about Farming,' and allowed people to see his Chap- 
paqua farm. 

" My two boys, who now have sons that can fish, I think 
could tell of a time, years ago, when they went with their 
father a-fishing in the Cape Fear River ; and how he trod upon 
a loose log and went a-ducking, and had to walk home in wet 
clothes, and on the way caught a cold, which was the only 
catch of that expedition. 

" Long since then, after eight years of constant labor in the 
Church of the Strangers, I went one winter to St. Augustine, 
and, just for a total change of employment, one day took a 
canoe and went fishing on the river. I had never read a page 
on the subject and I had had no personal instructions, but as 
rapidly as I could drop my line into the water up came a fish, 
until I had all I could well carry back to the hotel. That 
was phenomenal. The fish seemed to want to jump into my 
canoe. I could not understand it. I am not superstitious,— 
I belong to the Thirteen Club,— but from that day until the 
summer of 1892 I have taken no part in the original business 
of the apostles. 

"But last summer, after a month of twenty-two lectures 
and speeches in thirty days, I did what never occurred before 
in my ministry of fifty-three years — when I was not sick and 
not out of the country: I spared the churches three whole 
Sundays. In all that space of time I did not speak in public ; 
I hardly had strength and sense enough to pray in private. 
But I was on Dr. Bethune's old fishing-grounds, and worship- 



142 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

ing in the church which stands to his blessed memory, and — 
I went fishing. I went once with a beloved friend and twice 
with my beloved self. The results were as follows : 

"i. I caught a fish. Mark 'a fish' — one fish, only one, 
and that was not very large. Brethren of the rod, is it not a 
triumph of grace that I am able to tell the exact truth on such 
a subject? 

" 2. I caught another fish. While the first came to me in 
a normal manner, the latter was hooked by the tail. My 
only theory for this is that that fool fish was just flouncing 
around in the neighborhood of my hook and got caught in 
that ignominious manner. Another possible theory is that he 
looked at my hook and bait, and desired to express his con- 
tempt for the whole concern, and in flirting away struck the 
wrong place with his tail. 

" 3. But I caught a thought or two about fishing, and that 
being all the rest of my game, I frankly express it to you. 

"What is the object of fishing? There is but one which 
can satisfy a highly rational and deeply conscientious nature, 
and that is to obtain food for one's self or for some one else. 
To fish for any other purpose must be both foolish and wrong. 
I ask myself this question : Am I so small in resources that I 
cannot amuse myself without inflicting pain upon a fellow- 
creature? And then I reflect upon the prevalence of the slurs 
that are made upon the veracity of fishermen. I believe they 
generally take the form of ridiculing the reports made of the 
number of fishes, or of the size, or of both. There may have 
been occasions when my brethren of the rod have yielded to a 
temptation in that direction, but if so, I think I caught on the 
bank of that Manhattan Island which is in the great St. Law- 
rence River something which may be morally helpful to all 
my brethren in moments of violent temptation. 

" Settle it with yourself once for all that the number of fish 
caught has nothing to do with the importance, the grandeur, 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 143 

the beauty, or the utiHty of fishing. Let it be understood that 
when one goes fishing there is an object one has in view 
higher than all kinds and any number of fish, and that that 
object is the better secm-ed the longer time he is out and the 
fewer the fish he may catch. Going a-fishing does not at all 
necessarily involve the bringing home of fish. That may be 
an incidental, but it ought to be made a subordinate, con- 
sideration. In every case, where a man is not actually trying 
to get his food, holding a rod over the water on the bank of a 
river or lake, outdoors, hour by hour, without hurhng up the 
swimmers in the water, is very far from being a bad business. 
Its success depends upon the fewness of the fish caught and 
the length of time one has to wait. 

" Just settle that as a fundamental principle of your philos- 
ophy and you have gained much. A quick catch would spoil 
the whole thing, and many fish would knock the bottom out 
of the whole business. This was my summer discovery, 
namely, that going a-fishing does not involve catching any fish 
whatever. The relation of fish to going a-fishing is of the 
most abstract possible character. Any fellow can have a 
lovely old time catching the biggest fish in a couple of hours, 
but he may come back morally no better than when he started. 
Not so the fisherman who for six hours never budges and 
comes back with no more in his basket than he took out. 
Morally, he must be better as a man, and this can be shown 
to be the case philosophically. If there were time I believe 
I could prove this merely on the doctrine of conservation of 
energy, but I forbear. 

" I caught one story which illustrates my theory. A boy 
was on the bank, and a man came by. 

" ' Why, what are you doing? ' 

" ' Fishing,' replied the boy. 

" ' Been at it long? ' 

" ' Four hours,' the boy did say. 



144 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" ' Caught anything? ' 

"'Yep.' 

" ' What? ' 

" ' Patience.' 

"The gentleman, who was a railroad man, immediately 
employed that boy at twelve dollars a week and his board to 
take charge of the information bureau at a neighboring sta- 
tion on the trunk-line." 

Among Dr. Deems's letters was found one written from 
Wilmington, N. C, and dated August 31, 1857. It is ad- 
dressed to his friend the Hon. John A. Gilmer, of Greensboro. 
After congratulating Mr. Gilmer on his recent election to Con- 
gress, Dr. Deems goes on to confer with him as to the sale of 
Aunt Rachel, the colored cook. This extract is deeply inter- 
esting and significant as showing the relations which existed 
between the Southern master and slave. No satisfactory 
purchaser appearing, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Henry continued 
to live in the Deems family until her death. 

" You know that I own a woman whose husband belongs 
to General Gray, of Randolph. I hire Henry to keep him 
with his wife, and then hire him out here to pay me back. 
But it is a risk, and next year I may be stationed where I 
cannot get a situation for him. So I would like to sell Rachel 
to a good master in your county. I do not wish to separate 
them. And then, my dear friend, I am probably too poor to 
own her. I have not sought lucrative stations in the church, 
you know. I have worked hard, spent my time and talents 
to build up the church in North Carolina, given freely, helped 
to educate other people's children, and if I were sold out and 
my debts paid perhaps I might give each of my own five 
children twenty-five dollars apiece. At nearly thirty-seven 
years of age this is rather a gloomy prospect, isn't it? It 
would be if it were not for the reflection that I have endea- 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 145 

vored to do good, live unselfishly, and have faith in the final 
rewards. 

" But to return to Aunt Rachel. She is a nice v^^oman, has 
improved much since she came to me, and would readily bring 
twelve hundred dollars from the speculators here ; but I would 
not sell her to them, nor, indeed, would I either sacrifice my 
interests or let her go to a master who would not serve her 
properly. It has occurred to me that if you knew any gen- 
tleman who wants a good, honest, faithful woman for his lot, 
who hves within range of General Gray, say in Davidson, 
Guilford, or Randolph, I would sell her for something in the 
neighborhood of nine or ten hundred dollars. And if I could 
sell her in that vicinity to a good master, it would be doing 
her a service and enable me to ' square of! ' matters. She and 
her husband are very loath to hear me speak of parting with 
her, and I do not wish this matter at all spoken of unless 
you can put us on the track of making a satisfactory arrange- 
ment." 

The tone of Dr. Deems's letters during the year 1857 is 
in the main most cheerful ; but in places they show that he 
was tempted to be depressed by physical infirmity, pecuniary 
anxieties, and the detractions of certain evil and envious men. 
In a letter written to an intimate friend in the fall of 1857 he 
says : " What an immense deal is couched in the promise of 
that heaven where ' the wicked cease to trouble, and the weary 
are forever at rest '! My troubles have seemed to produce a 
complex effect upon my character. They have hardened the 
muscles of my spirit and they have bruised also. I can bear 
more, lift more ; but there is a very sore inside spot, and I 
have continually to watch it, lest it fester and break out. And 
then I have a sensitiveness lest it be discovered. I have in- 
augurated street-preaching in this city, and last Wednesday 
night, October 14th, I rang our new bell, mine being the first 
hand to employ it in calling the people up to worship. This 



146 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

is an event. My steeple is going up. Last week I spent in 
Goldsboro and was sick all the while. Mrs. Dr. Annin, of 
Newark, N. J., Anna's playmate in childhood, has been our 
guest some weeks." 

To Miss Mary Reamy 

" September i, 1857. 
" Our baby girl is one of the cutest, sharpest, hveliest little 
things you ever saw, and so small and plump! We call her 
partridge, snow-bird, rice-bird, everything we can think of 
which is expressive of brief plumptitude," 

To His Son Theodore 

" Wilmington, N. C, November 4, 1857. 

" My dear Son : We were much gratified yesterday by 
the reception of your letter, and much pleased to know that 
you were growing fat. Upon the failure of your letter we 
wrote to Mr. Wilkinson, and he told us of your punctuality 
and praised you in terms which gladdened us. I wish, my 
dear son, you could look into your father's heart and see how 
it grows happy when he learns that you have done anything 
to please others and make them happy. None but a parent 
can know a parent's anguish at the misdeeds of a child. We 
pray daily that our dear Theodore may always bless us. I 
shall be willing to be an old man if my children will only so 
act that they can maintain a good position in society. If this 
gives us concern, how much more anxious should we be that 
our children stand well with God, who knows all hearts and 
who will fix our places in eternity! 

" All the children send love. Louly is so sweet! Our kind 
regards to Mrs. Hook and Uncle Everitt's family. 
"Affectionately your father, 

" Charles F. Deems." 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 147 

The North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, was opened at Goldsboro on the 
second day of December, 1857, Bishop Pierce presiding. Dr. 
Deems was present and took an active part in the proceedings, 
especially as chairman of the Committee on Education. He was 
elected one of the delegates to attend the General Conference, 
which was to be held at Nashville, Tenn., the following spring. 
It was at this conference in Goldsboro that Robert S. Moran, 
D.D., then a local elder from Genesee Conference, New York, 
was readmitted into the traveling connection. Dr. Moran was 
a man of brains and culture, and Dr. Deems and he became 
devoted friends for hfe. 

The closing weeks of 1857 were largely devoted by Dr. 
Deems to preparing the third volume of "The Annals of 
Southern Methodism." With this exception, he had done but 
httle literary work for two years ; so we find him writing to the 
editor of the " North Carolina Christian Advocate," early in 
1858: "For two years, except a few scraps, I have given 
nothing to the press. My personal matters, as you know, 
have kept my faculties in their full employ, and in Wilming- 
ton, you know, a man has hardly an hour to himself." 

Being devoted to children, it was a constant source of sor- 
row to Dr. Deems that his duties separated him so frequently 
from his family. In April, 1858, he sent his two elder sons, 
Theodore and Frank, to an excellent boarding-school at South 
Lowell, N. C. Writing to Mr. Joseph Speed, the principal of 
the school, he says, among other things : " When Wilberforce 
once entered the nursery of his own house and took up his 
own little child, it cried, and the nurse informed him that it 
' always did so mntJi strangers' That is one of the great afflic- 
tions of being a public man and the servant of the whole com- 
munity. Perhaps I do not know my own children as well as 
others do." He then proceeds to speak of the dispositions and 
needs of his two sons in a way which shows how thoroughly 



148 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

he did know them. All his children can testify that never was 
a father less deserving of the title " stranger." On the con- 
trary, he was their companion and most trusted friend. All 
their little joys and sorrows they took straight to their father, 
ever assured of finding in him a true sympathizer. No father 
ever found greater comfort in, or showed truer devotion to, 
the babe in the home than did Dr. Deems. In a letter to a 
friend written shortly after the one just referred to, he writes 
affectionately about all his children, concluding this part of 
his letter by saying : " The pet of the house is ' Louly ' [Anna 
Louise], our Goldsboro bud. She begins to expand beauti- 
fully, after very little promise. She is exquisitely sweet. The 
dear child now makes attempts at a few words and keeps up 
an enormous amount of jabbering and chattering. This morn- 
ing she woke like a birdling and opened on us with the sweet- 
est twitterings and attempts at songlets." This same letter is 
full of characteristic expressions of affection for his wife. And 
a few weeks later, in the midst of a business letter to his father, 
he suddenly breaks off to say : " I love you dearly for all your 
goodness, tenderness, and devotion to me. You are just one 
of the dearest and best fathers that ever a boy had — and I 
write that out of my heart, with tears in my eyes. God bless 
you! And if I live when you are gone I shall survive to bless 
your memory." He did outhve his father and most faithfully 
fulfilled his promise to bless his memory. 

To His Infant Daughter Louise 

Wilson, N. C, July 29, 1859. 
" Poppa's darlin' Nits, pop's goin' to yite a itty letter to. 
'Most all his work's done, and he's goin' in the tars to Wi'm'- 
ton. Pop do want to see Pidfit to mut. No itty Looloo to 
teep in itty bed 'side poppa's ; no mama in the yoom ; no Sis 
Minnie. P'ees, Looloo, do tum home to poppa. Poppa will 
hud and tiss, and tarry on wid, and div it tandy. My gayshus! 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 149 

won't pop be g'ad? And won't Fide dump? Itty Fide been 
all way up in Johnson Tounty on a visit. When pop dot 
home Fide 'most eat him up. Looloo ought to see how he 
' make his tail went.' Looloo 'member ' Missie,' Miss Hon- 
fluer's itty dog? Well, yesterday pop went to see it ; and it 
was so g'ad. It 'most talk, and would stay by pop. Poor 
Missie t'ou't pop could tell her 'bout her mittit. Looloo, 'et's 
all tum home— mama and Min and F'ank and Eddie and Bud 
Teedy and pop. And 'et's hud and tiss powerful. 

" Hud F'ank for pop, and tiss Eddie, and skeeze Sis Min, 
and eat mama up. Dood-by, darlin' itty bitty teet dal! Tell 
danpa and danma and Untie Markey and Aunt Mary and 
the chillun they must tum home wid Looloo! 

"Your owney-downey 

" Pop." 

Dr. Deems's tenderly affectionate and demonstrative spirit 
was manifested toward many outside as well as those of his 
own family circle, and was one of the secrets of his popularity 
and success ; for all felt that it was genuine. 

In March, 1858, in the Front Street Church, and in fact in 
all the churches of Wilmington, a work of grace was mani- 
fested. This was most cheering to Dr. Deems in his ministry, 
and to the editor of the " North Carolina Christian Advocate," 
Dr. Heflin, he thus writes : 

" The Lord has been pouring out his Spirit upon this church 
during the last fortnight abundantly. The humility, earnest- 
ness, and zeal of the membership have been greatly increased. 
We have had two meetings daily. The prayer-meetings at 
noon have been largely attended and have proved precious 
seasons. Persons of all classes have been penitent at our 
altar, and more than thirty have made a profession of reli- 
gion. Last night there were twenty-nine penitents. The 
intervals of public service are spent in private conversa- 



150 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

tion with ' mourners.' Of course I have Httle time for any- 
thing else. 

" ' The Lord of hosts is with us ; the God of Jacob is our 
refuge.' " 

About the middle of May Dr. Deems went to Nashville, 
Tenn., as one of the delegates from the North Carolina Con- 
ference to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, which meets once in every four years. Al- 
though kept very busy all the time he made many friends, and 
returned to Wilmington refreshed and stimulated in spirit, 
though weary in body. Writing from Nashville, May 15th, 
to a member of his church, he says, among other things : " I 
made my North Carolina tour safely, reached this city ' right 
side up,' and, as they say in Georgia, ' pitched in ' adme.d\- 
ately. . . . Last night I preached in the Methodist cathedral 
called McKendree Church. It was a very large congrega- 
tion, a very hot time, a very slender discourse, and a very at- 
tentive crowd. You cannot tell how I long to be at home. 
My labors are excessive. I am confined to the conference- 
room during the morning, and the afternoon is spent in com- 
mittees. I am secretary to the most laborious committee, that 
of revisals, and have to write out the reports thereof. This is 
laborious, as our committee has the revisal of the whole sub- 
ject of our church Discipline." When conference was ad- 
journed, about June ist. Dr. Deems wrote home that he was 
almost blind with exhaustion, and that his hand was giving 
him continuous pain from constant use of the pen. 

The summer and fall were spent in faithful, fruitful work 
in the interests of his Wilmington parish, wherein he was 
greatly blessed. His birthday, December 4th, found him 
in improved health and excellent spirits, as may be seen by 
the following letter to an old New York friend. 



THE WILMINGTON PARISH 151 

To Mrs. Caroline R. Dend 

" December 4, 1858. 

" My dear Sister Dend : This is my thirty-eighth birth- 
day, and I reserve for it my correspondence with my most 
intimate friends. Do you remember that just nineteen years 
ago ( ! ) you were so kind to the boy who had gone to New 
York to try his fortunes and begin his ministry? What trials, 
what conflicts, what fightings, what fears, since that time! 
How hard has been his Hfe, how good his God! And amid 
it all he has never forgotten one single act of your kindness 
and goodness. To-day my people fete me. Never has there 
risen upon me a birthday that had more clustering blessings. 
In arranging, as I always do before conference, all my worldly 
affairs as if I were going to die, I have never been in so com- 
fortable a condition. And now from all these comforts my 
heart goes back to a time when I really did not know how to 
replace my threadbare coat with another, and when a lady, as 
I wvalked with her down Canal Street, so delicately begged me 
not to be offended if the ladies presented me a suit of clothes, 
as they intended to do the same to Dr. Bangs. You know 
who that lady was, but you do not know how acceptable was 
the gift. The Lord God bless you abundantly. . . . 

" My future is somewhat uncertain. They have again 
elected me president of Soule University, Texas ; but my North 
Carolina friends seem determined that I shall not leave them, 
and are projecting the purchase of a residence for my family 
in this city. In the meantime two wealthy gentlemen offer 
me two seminaries in the same town (Wilson, N. C), the title 
of the property to be in me in fee, the rectory of which is all 
I shall have to take ; that is to say, I could have my confer- 
ence appointments as now ; and my occasional work and con- 
stant oversight would yield me a handsome profit. And to 
bribe me to accept their munificence, one of the gentlemen 



152 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

offers me five hundred dollars for a brief European tour. If 
I accept the latter I shall probably see you in February. 

" Please write to me, and ' keep a-lovin' me,' as the darkies 
say. Mrs. Deems joins me in sentiments of high regard." 

The Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, in North Carolina, met at Newbern, in the African 
Church, Bishop Kavanaugh presiding. Dr. Deems was pres- 
ent, and of course had a delightful reunion with his many 
friends in his former parish. In the "Daily Progress" for 
December 15th, the following item appeared: 

"C. F. Deems, D.D. 

" We understand it was stated on the floor of the confer- 
ence yesterday that this distinguished divine has been invited 
recently to the presidency of a university in the State of Texas. 
This promises to be the richest and best endowed and one of 
the most influential institutions in all the South. 

" We also learn that Dr. Deems has been called to the pas- 
torate of a popular church in the city of New York. 

" It is certainly gratifying to his friends— and their name is 
legion — to know that he who is so much loved at home is held 
in such high estimation abroad. We hope North Carolina 
will offer such inducements to Dr. Deems as that he will be 
content to forego these splendid offers and remain among us. 
Though an adopted son, there is no one more loyal to the 
' Old North State,' and who has a warmer place in her great 
beating heart. The ties that bind us are strong, and we trust 
they will never be severed." 

Conference, in making its appointments, at this session did 
not send Dr. Deems back to Front Street Church, but promoted 
him by making him presiding elder of the Wilmington district, 
within whose bounds were at that time fourteen churches. 



CHAPTER V 

TEACHING AND TRAVELING, 1859-60 

THE next thing after the conference of 1858 to receive Dr. 
Deems's attention was an appeal from certain citizens of 
Wilson, N. C, for him to establish and maintain in that place 
a seminary for young men and women. This is the offer re- 
ferred to in the last chapter in his letter to Mrs. Caroline 
Dend. He decided to accept the invitation, and in a letter to 
a friend, dated December 24, 1858, says: "Conference has 
adjourned ; we are breaking up ; all things about us are in 
confusion. We are to live in— Wilson! ! Your old home. 
But it has grown greatly. They have erected a large semi- 
nary and presented me two thirds of it ; that is, I pay one 
third of cost, and have the whole in fee simple and the whole 
control. I expect next month to open a large school for boys 
and girls, and to expand it, as my time and powers allow, into 
the greatest and best thing in the State of North Carolina." 

From His Journal 

"Monday, January 3d. The circular announcing my 
school in Wilson published at noon. My first Quarterly Con- 
ference was held at Fifth Street Church in the preacher's office. 
Rev. T. W. Guthrie, pastor." 

" Tuesday, January 4th. At work on ' Annals of Southern 
Methodism.' Very perplexing. The book has to be finished 

153 



154 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

at such a busy time of the year. My engagements now are 
very pressing. The ' Annals,' my district, the opening a new 
seminary— all at once! I go to my office by starlight in the 
morning. 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be.'" 

" Monday, January loth. Closed up affairs. Started with 
Mrs. Deems and ' Loulie ' for Wilson. Mrs. Coffin (who is 
to be matron of the seminary) and daughter accompanied us. 
At Faison we gathered up all the other children. Stayed all 
night at Wiley Daniel's in Wilson." 

"Wednesday, January 12th. The first meal at the new 
seminary at supper. Present, Mrs. Deems, Mrs. Coffin, Miss 
Sarah Brown and Miss Kate Shackelford, of Wilmington, Miss 
Maiy W. Speed, Maria Coffin, Professor Radcliffe, Minnie, 
Theodore, Frank, and Eddie Deems. In the name of the 
Lord have we set up our banners." 

The newly erected seminary cost seventy-five hundred dol- 
lars. It was amply provided with rooms for boarding pupils, 
class-rooms, and one entire wing devoted to a residence for 
Dr. Deems and his family. Ample grounds and outhouses, 
such as a kitchen, barn, etc., made a complete institution. In 
connection with the seminary Dr. Deems secured an indefinite 
lease on another lot having on it a large two-story house, a 
school for boys, with dormitories and recitation-rooms. 

The town of Wilson is about one hundred and twenty miles 
north of Wilmington and is the county-seat of Wilson County. 
It was a bright place in 1859, but has grown and improved 
wonderfully since that time. After energetic and careful effort 
Dr. Deems secured a faculty for his schools, furnished them, 
and began the first term on January 13, 1859. On that day 
the new seminary was dedicated. It was named " St. Austin's 
Institute." The Rev. J. W. Tucker read Psalm xxi. and offered 
prayer ; Dr. Deems delivered the address of the occasion ; and 
the benediction was pronounced by the Rev. N. A. H. Goddin. 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 153 

Fifteen boys and sixteen girls were entered as scholars for the 
ensuing session. 

When the first scholastic exercises commenced, on Monday, 
January 17th, there were in attendance twenty-four boys and 
twenty-four girls ; but by the end of the year there had been 
enrolled in the seminary for young ladies tighty-two, and in 
the miUtary academy ninety-three, a total of one hundred and 
seventy-five. Miss Mary Wade Speed was principal of the 
ladies' seminary, and Captain James D. Radcliffe of the mili- 
tary academy. They were both experienced teachers and 
eminently fitted for the positions which they held. Professor 
Radchffe was a graduate of the South Carohna Military 
Academy. In addition to the English, mathematical, and 
classical branches, the pupils had the ad\'antage of the infan- 
try drill of military academies. To seciu^e interest and suc- 
cess in this an ample supply of cadet muskets was provided, 
and a neat, plain, and inexpensive uniform. The uniform 
proved a great help in securing discipline and preventing ex- 
travagance ; and the drill, while not interfering with the 
studies, favored the physical and intellectual training of the 
boys and young men. The pupils of both departments came 
chiefly from North Carohna, but also a few came from neigh- 
boring States. 

In addition to engaging teachers and professors of unusual 
abihty for the various departments. Dr. Deems secured for the 
institution a very fine and ample selection of chemical and 
philosophical apparatus, and one afternoon in each week was 
devoted to lectures illustrating to the pupils in both depart- 
ments the laws of matter and of motion, mechanics, hydrau- 
Hcs, hydrostatics, pneumatics, electricity, optics, magnetism, 
electromagnetism, chemistry, and astronomy. In addition to 
these regular scientific lectures, gentlemen from abroad were 
occasionally employed, and the rector. Dr. Deems, addressed 
the classes upon such subjects of personal interest as he thought 



156 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

most important. While St. Austin's was an undenominational 
school, it yet made provision for the spiritual culture of its 
pupils, both branches being opened and closed daily with the 
reading of the Scriptures and prayers ; and on Sundays espe- 
cial instruction in the Bible was given. 

Dr. Deems was, of course, profoundly interested in his Wil- 
son schools, and put into them not only four of the best years 
of his life, but also his whole heart and mind. Nor were these 
bestowed in vain ; for in return he made a host of friends, 
educated a large company of young people, and received a 
mental and spiritual discipline without which he could never 
have made the mark in the world which he afterward did. He 
never forgot the generosity and aid of the patrons of St. Aus- 
tin's in Wilson and elsewhere, and held in tenderest memory 
both his associates in the faculty and his pupils in the ladies' 
seminary and the military academy. 

In addition to the care and toil involved in the founding 
and carrying on of his Wilson schools, Dr. Deems during his 
whole life in Wilson kept up vigorously and successfully his 
work as presiding elder of the Wilmington district. The bulk 
of his time was given to this work, and the schools received 
the remainder. To give the reader an idea of his life at this 
time we insert here the following 

Extracts from His Journal for 1859 

"Saturday, January 2 2d. Left Wilmington on early train. 
Weather inclement. Mr. Tom Ashe invited me to his brother's. 
Found the family of the Hon. William S. Ashe very agreeable. 
Mr. Tom Ashe particularly interesting in California stories. 
Walked over, or rather waded, to Rocky Point Church. No 
one there." 

" Monday, January 24th. Rose at three o'clock and rode 
with Mr. James to the Marlboro station. Thence to Wil- 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 157 

mington by railroad. Shopped all day. Left in afternoon train 
and reached home at night. Wednesday, 26th. At home; 
very unwell. Wednesday, February 2d. Working on the 
'Annals of Southern Methodism.'" 

"Saturday, March 12th. Dr. F. W. Potter carried me to 
Zoar, in Brunswick County, over a most wretched road to a 
wretched ' meeting-house.' Lot said truly, ' It is a little one.' 
Met the Rev. A. D. Betts. Held Quarterly Conference. Then 
went to the Rev. C. C. Mercer's, where we spent the night. 
Doleful country." 

" Monday, April nth. At night [in Wilmington] heard Ed- 
ward Everett dehver his famous oration on ' Washington,' and 
was sadly disappointed. Every gesture was put in precisely 
where it should have been ; every sentence was balanced, 
every tone studied. As a literary performance it was polished 
to perfection. Some of the gems were exquisite. But at the 
conclusion I had not once felt my blood stirred, nor did I 
feel a greater veneration for Washington. Whereupon I con- 
cluded that, with all its merits, it failed both as a philosophi- 
cal inquiry and as an oration." 

"Friday, June 3d. Friday afternoon went [from Wilming- 
ton] in the steamer ' Fanny Lutterloh.' Just before daylight 
was put out at Purdie's Landing. Lost my way — night — 
storm — finally succeeded." 

" Sunday, December 4th. My thirty-ninth birthday! 'Few 
and evil;' yet how old I am! I have /^// so much. Stayed 
last night with Mr. John C. Bowden. Administered the sac- 
rament of the Lord's Supper in the morning to the whites, in 
the afternoon to the colored people." 

"Wednesday, December 14th. Conference opens at Beau- 
fort, N. C. Bishop Early presides." 

"Monday, December 19th. Very sick with my ear. At 
night \ fainted ! A new sensation. Am I weakening?" 

"Tuesday, December 20th. The physician put me on my 



158 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

feet, and I made an address before conference in behalf of 
the ' Advocate,' and secured thirteen hundred dollars to meet 
its liabihties. The news reached town [Beaufort] to-day that 
I had been elected to the professorship of history and elocu- 
tion in the University of North Carolina." 

During the 1859 session of the North Carolina Conference 
two things occurred which gave the greatest gratification to 
Dr. Deems: one was the admitting into that conference 
and the appointment to the Topsail circuit of his father, 
the Rev. George W. Deems, from Petersburg, Va. ; and the 
other was Dr. Deems's election by the University of North 
Carolina to the chair of history and elocution. The Wilming- 
ton "Herald" of December 21st, commenting on the call to 
the university, said : " The trustees show their appreciation of 
sterling talent and ability in their selection of Dr. Deems. 
We do not think, however, that the doctor will accept. He 
has year after year refused tempting offers of a similar nature, 
and we do not beheve that he wishes to leave the regular work 
of the ministry. Besides, he has now in the full tide of suc- 
cessful operation a large and flourishing school at Wilson, 
w^hich he can superintend without interfering with his duties 
as a minister of Christ." Although urged to do so by confer- 
ence, Dr. Deems, after mature deliberation, decided not to 
go to the university. 

Frojn His Journal 

"Saturday, December 31st. Raining and cold. Spent the 
last night of this year [in Wilmington] in the quiet house of 
my friend Mr. Van Sickle. God has been good to me this 
year. I have not missed an appointment on my district 
through sickness, and only one elsewhere. My schools have 
prospered. We have had about one hundred and twenty 
pupils. My receipts have fallen short of my expenditures by 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 159 

about two hundred and fifty dollars, but I have purchased 
more than sixteen hundred dollars' worth of furniture. I 
thank God and take courage. Oh, that I may be a better 
man next year! So pass our years into eternity; the unalter- 
able record is made." 

Almost every thoughtful man sooner or later is possessed 
with a desire to travel, especially in foreign lands ; so it is not 
strange that for many years Dr. Deems had eagerly wished to 
visit Europe. At last, in i860, the way seemed clear for him 
to do so. During 1859 he had put his Wilson schools in 
good working order and had become familiar with and sys- 
tematized the work on the Wilmington district, over which he 
was presiding elder. Moreover, friends of means and gener- 
osity had placed at his disposal five hundred dollars toward 
the expenses of a European trip. Besides all this, he had been 
for years under a mental and physical strain which impera- 
tively called for some such experience as this. He accord- 
ingly decided to travel, and prepared industriously for a six 
months' journey abroad. 

Fro7n His Journal 

"Wednesday, March 21st. My dear children met me in 
my study and we had a pleasant family chat. Thursday, 
March 2 2d. Left the seminary with Mrs. Deems, Minnie, 
and Loulie for the cars. Many of the pupils assembled. It 
was hard parting, but my wife was with me and that cheered. 
At Weldon married a couple at the hotel. Reached Mr. Dis- 
osway's [at Stony Creek, near Petersburg, Va.] in the even- 
ing. Friday, March 23d. At three o'clock to-day parted 
from my dear, dear wife for six or seven long months. It 
was tenfold more bitter than I thought it could be. Traveled 
all night." 



160 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

On his way to New York Dr. Deems stopped off to visit 
friends at Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. He 
reached New York City Wednesday, March 28th, and put up 
at first at the Astor House, but afterward made his headquarters 
at the residence of his wife's uncle, Mr. Cornehus Disosway, 
who lived at No. 36 West Forty-fifth Street, and who showed 
Dr. Deems every attention during his stay in the city. Satur- 
day evening, March 31st, he went to Albany, where he was 
the guest of the Rev. Dr. Sprague, author of " Annals of the 
American Pulpit," for which Dr. Deems had written sketches 
of Brame, Summerfield, and Emory. On Sunday he preached 
in Dr. Sprague's pulpit both morning and evening. Monday 
was spent delightfully in visiting in Albany, a most pleasant 
interview with Palmer, the sculptor, being one of the features 
of the day. 

Leaving Albany Tuesday morning, he stopped a few hours 
at West Point, where he was introduced to Professor O. O. 
Howard. Arriving in New York in the afternoon, he heard 
in the evening William CuUen Bryant's oration on Washing- 
ton Irving at the Academy of Music. Edward Everett also 
spoke, and Dr. Deems saw on the platform, among other 
celebrities, Bancroft and General Winfield Scott. It was 
Irving's birthday. The next few days were spent in sight- 
seeing, hearing addresses and sermons by famous men, and in 
securing his passage for Europe. 

It was at this time that Dr. Deems first came in touch with 
" Commodore " Cornelius Vanderbilt. On this subject he 
wrote years afterward : 

"In the year i860 I had occasion to visit Europe. For 
that purpose I left my pastoral charge in North Carolina and 
came to New York. One day, while standing on the corner 
of Broadway and Bowling Green, my wife's uncle, Mr. Gabriel 
Disosway, found me there in a brown study. I told him that 
I was just considering the question whether I should venture 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 161 

to take passage in the steamship ' lUinois.' He said he had a 
friend in the neighborhood who could tell me all about it. 
'Who is it?' said I. 'Cornelius Vanderbilt.' I had heard 
Mr. Gabriel Disosway's brother, my father-in-law, many a 
year ago speak of his early acquaintance with Mr. Vanderbilt, 
both these gentlemen having been Staten Islanders. I re- 
quested him to take me to Mr. Vanderbilt's office. 

" When we entered he was standing at a desk alone. He was 
a magnificent-looking man. ' How are you, judge? ' said he, 
addressing Mr. Disosway. My wife's uncle then presented me 
and told my business in general terms. He looked me straight 
in the eye ; I shall never forget the man's face and expression. 
I stood returning the gaze and said : ' Mr. Vanderbilt, I am 
going to Europe ; I haven't too much money ; I want to ex- 
pend as little on the passage as practicable, that I may have 
more to spend abroad. The " Illinois " advertises passage at 
twenty dollars in gold less than the other lines ; twenty dollars 
is an amount worth my considering, but I think too much of 
myself to put my life in peril for twenty dollars. Do you 
think the "Illinois" will make the trip?' He looked me 
straight in the eye and said, ' Doctor, she will reach the other 
side.' I instantly responded, ' Then, if I am alive, I shall be 
with her. Good-morning, Mr. Vanderbilt,' and I walked out. 

" I never forgot that brief interview, but supposed that of 
course it had long ago passed from his memory. Sixteen 
years thereafter, a few days before he died, while propped up 
in his invahd's chair in his front room in No. lo Washington 
Place, I alluded to the circumstance. A gentleman of the 
party said, ' Oh, the commodore has forgotten all about that.' 
' No,' said he, ' I haven't.' And then the dying man detailed 
the whole interview, and not only remembered me as well as 
I had remembered him, but gave a history of the ' Illinois,' 
describing her build from stem to stern with tenfold the full- 
ness with which I could have done it, although I spent fifteen 



162 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

days on her. He followed it up with a minute account of her 
subsequent history." 

Frofn His Journal 

" Saturday, April 7th. At twelve o'clock was on board the 
' Illinois.' State-room 7 ; Captain Seabury ; bound for Havre. 
Beautiful day. Quiet in heart. Not sick. Interested in the 
sea. After to-day shall keep a copy of the captain's log." 

The sea voyage was marred in a measure by wind and rain, 
and was made in fifteen days. Dr. Deems preached on the 
steamer's deck April 15th and April 2 2d. He thoroughly 
enjoyed his experience on the Atlantic notwithstanding its 
roughness. Southampton was reached Monday, April 23d, 
and Tuesday, April 24th, the steamer was at her pier in Havre. 

Before going abroad Dr. Deems determined not to correspond 
with any newspaper and not to write a book, for he wished his 
travels to be unclouded by any form of responsibility. His 
diary is filled with sketchy memoranda made with lead-pencil 
and in very fine handwriting. He wrote frequently and fully 
to his family and friends, and sent especially interesting letters 
to his Wilson schools, which were brought together from time 
to time to hear these letters read. On account of time and 
war and the death of many of his correspondents, all of Dr. 
Deems's letters are lost, save one which he wrote to his wife 
on reaching the British Channel. The doctor traveled rapidly 
and covered a great deal of ground ; but he observed acutely 
and intensely and thought deeply on what he saw, thus making 
his six months in Europe an epoch in his mental and spiritual 
hfe. In going to Europe he had three especial objective 
points : Rome, Oxford at the commencement season, and 
Oberammergau at the time of the passion-play. 

To the more important places in his itinerary he gave weeks, 
and to those of less interest, days or even hours. His longest 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 163 

Stops were at Paris, Naples, Rome, London, Oxford, and Ber- 
lin. During most of the time he had delightful American and 
British traveling companions and was in excellent health ; but 
at other times he suffered from lonehness and depression of spir- 
its, and once he was quite ill for a few days while in Holland. 
What interested him most in his travels was not scenery, but 
historic places, painting and statuary, and people of high and 
low degree with their peculiar thoughts and customs. The 
cathedrals especially impressed him, leading him to exclaim, 
while under the spell of one of the most impressive of them, 
"Thank God for the dark ages!" 

In Paris he saw everything of note, and, among other sights, 
was permitted to see the emperor and empress, the little prince, 
and Prince Jerome, his son, and his wife. He admired the 
elegant simpHcity of the traveling costume of the Empress 
Eugenie, who at the time was leaving France for a visit to the 
British queen. He spoke to the little Napoleon, and said he 
then looked Hke his illustrious uncle. 

Naples, with its historic and picturesque surroundings, was 
deeply interesting to Dr. Deems. 

From His Journal 

"Thursday, May 8th. Woke this morning near Naples. 
Beautiful for situation. Vesuvius active— beggars too. De- 
tained two hours ; then landed. Examined by police, baggage 
examined by custom-house officer. At last allowed to go to 
our hotel and get breakfast at eleven. Passports kept." 

Besides delightful sight-seeing in Naples, Dr. Deems made 
excursions to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Virgil's tomb, 
Baiae, Castellamare, and Sorrento. Just before leaving Naples 
on Saturday, May loth, Dr. Deems wrote in his journal, 
" Garibaldi has taken Palermo and is expected to march on 



IG-i CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Naples. Most of the strangers leaving." He reached Rome 
at 8 P.M., May 20th, and in his journal indicates his emotions 
on arriving in the Eternal City by giving the word " Rome " 
three heavy underscorings. He spent ten intensely interesting 
days in Rome, meeting many noted people, including the pope, 
and seeing most of the great sights. He says in his journal 
that on Wednesday, May 23d, he took a night walk "a la 
Marble Faun," and on Thursday mounted St. Peter's into the 
ball. The Vatican with its treasures of art and antiquity re- 
ceived especial attention and thrilled him. He did not fail to 
explore the catacombs, climb Hilda's Tower, and otherwise 
study and enjoy Rome. 

After Rome the principal northern cities of Italy were visited, 
Florence, Venice, and Milan giving him especial dehght. At 
Verona he was taken for a spy. The " Diamond," a little 
amateur journal, edited and printed for a short time in New 
York City by the young nephews of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, 
in its issue for June, 1887, printed the following account of this 
episode : 

"We heard Dr. Deems tell the following story: 'In i860 
I came near dropping out of the world. In a party of 
travelers at Venice were a New York merchant, a Brooklyn 
physician, an English acquaintance, and myself. My English 
acquaintance and I went to Verona. We parted at night 
with the understanding that he should join the American 
friends from Venice the next morning, while I went to Man- 
tua. Rising early, I put on my duster, and, taking a guide- 
book, ascended the castle steps to enjoy the splendid view of 
Lombardy. I sat upon one of the steps taking notes and 
sketches. Once or twice I heard the door at the top open 
and shut, but before I could turn my head the opener had dis- 
appeared from sight. At last I got a view of the head as the 
door closed. In a few moments a strong-armed Austrian sol- 
dier came lumbering down the steps and laid his hand on my 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 1G5 

shoulder. It was easy to see that he meant that I should 
follow him. Serenely and innocently I walked behind. 

" * After a few steps we met an officer. Some conversation 
followed, which I was not able to understand, my conductor 
showing him the book in my hand and turning to the page 
which had the plan of the fortifications. He was directed to 
take me below. All at once I awoke to a sense of my con- 
dition. A gentleman had lately, to the great distress of his 
family, been kept in an Austrian prison on suspicion of being 
a spy. It struck me that that was to be my fate. When we 
came to a certain platform about nine feet above the street 
there was a fork in the road ; my conductor, evidently expect- 
ing me to follow, had turned to the left. 

" ' I made a calculation of my ability to leap. After he had 
taken three steps I wheeled to the right, sprang down the steps 
into the street, doubling until I reached a church, where I 
went in, got behind the altar, stripped off my blouse, wrapped 
it into as small a compass as possible, turned my cap inside 
out, and by doubling reached the hotel, where I quickly settled 
my bill, secured a conveyance, and got into an eastern-bound 
car, where I found our whole party. I explained my escape 
to them. A European sitting near and hearing the story said, 
"Well, no doubt you did some rapid running? " 

"'"Running!" I replied. "I am an American; do you 
suppose an American ever runs? But to be candid with you, 
sir, if you had seen me from the bridge you would have seen 
some tall walking." 

" ' If I had been imprisoned I should have disappeared. 
The last trace made of me would have been at the hotel whence 
my English friend expected me to go to Mantua. There the 
clue would have broken. It was a close call, and I was very 
glad to get off so well.' " 

While in Europe Dr. Deems was three times in London, 
and on each visit made good use of his time in sight-seeing. 



166 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Probably what interested him most was seeing and hearing 
the great men in ParHament. He heard Gladstone, Lord 
Palmerston, Lord Brougham, and others. Among the 
preachers whom he went to hear were Spurgeon, Mr. Punshon, 
and Dean Stanley. 

On Saturday, June 23d, he wrote in his journal: "The 
greatest day of England in this generation. The great 're- 
view of volunteers.' Walked and stood and leaned for seven 
hours. Saw thirty thousand volunteers and certainly seventy 
thousand people. Was opposite Buckingham Palace. Saw 
the queen distinctly, and Prince Albert and the Prince of 
Wales, and the 'whole lot.' What people! what crowds! 
what splendor! what beauty!" 

From London Dr. Deems went to Oxford, and the five days 
which he spent at this ancient and classic university were after- 
ward often spoken of with glowing pleasure. He probably 
enjoyed no part of his travels more than his stay at Oxford, 
which he reached on the 27th of June. Here he packed every 
minute with the sweet toil of inspecting Oxford buildings, 
men, and methods. As it was the commencement season, 
many men of learning and rank were present, and among other 
addresses which Dr. Deems heard was a discourse by Mr. 
Huxley, which he afterward thought "had in it the main 
points of the article of his which appeared in the ' Westmin- 
ster Review ' of that year, afterward published in his volume, 
in which he gives his reason for rejecting the hypothesis of the 
direct creation of species." 

In speaking of the various college buildings and grounds, 
he always awarded the palm— and who would not?— to 
Magdalen College, with its quiet, studious cloisters adorned 
with ivy, its ample parks with their stately shade-trees, 
green-sward, feeding deer, and, the glory of all, "Addison's 
Walk." 

Neighboring points of interest were visited: Woodstock, 



TEACHING AND TRAVELING 167 

where he saw Blenheim's beautiful grounds, drank of " Rosa- 
mond's Well," and looked upon Chaucer's house ; Shotover, 
Mary Powell's home ; Forest Hill, with Milton's courting-walk ; 
Cumner, where Amy Robsart died, and near which Alfred was 
born and Hampden fell. In the midst of his memoranda of 
these excursions he writes in his journal : " Delightful walks 
and sights. Beautiful, dear old England!" 

When in the midst of his rambles through the English lake 
district he visited Rydal Mount, the home of the poet Words- 
worth, on Wednesday, July i8th. There he saw and talked 
with James Dixon, who had been for thirty-five years a ser- 
vant in the Wordsworth family, and from whom Dr. Deems 
bought a most interesting chair, which the poet had used in 
his study, and which is still preserved in the Deems family as 
a precious relic. 

The latter half of August, all of September, and half of Oc- 
tober were spent on the Continent, visiting the principal points 
of interest in Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, 
touching again at Paris on his homeward way. Naturally the 
cathedrals and art galleries received the largest share of his 
attention. 

No paintings appear to have impressed him more than Ru- 
bens's two masterpieces in the cathedral of Antwerp. We 
find lying in his journal a loose sheet of note-paper, on both 
sides of which is a closely written discriminating criticism of 
these two noble works of art. 

The Rhine, Heidelberg, Berlin, Dresden, and Oberammer- 
gau, as well as other points on the Continent, were seen and 
enjoyed as only a man like Dr. Deems could see and enjoy 
them. Then he turned his face homeward, and after touch- 
ing again at London, and spending a few days in visiting Cork, 
Dublin, and the Killarney Lakes, he boarded the steamer 
"Edinburgh" and sailed for America on Thtursday, Octo- 
ber 25th. 



168 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 



From His Journal 



"October 26th. This morning it was very rough, and for 
the first time in my life I was somewhat seasick. My room- 
mate is Mr. Mirzan, a native of Smyrna and now Uving in 
Boston. October 28th. To-night was flung down and 
bruised my arm badly. It was in the engine-house. A most 
furious blow all night. Rolling, terrible waves ; water poured 
in ; women and children cried ; a time ! Preached on ship- 
board from Psalm Ixv. 5. November 2d. In the night reached 
banks of Newfoundland. The morning foggy, the day rainy. 
November 5th. A day of debate on American politics. 
November 6th. A wonderful waterspout rising to the south 
of us and coming across oiir stern a few hundred yards behind ; 
a most extraordinary exhibition when a black background of 
clouds made it very visible ; the rapid waving ascent into the 
air and its agglomeration into feathery clouds ; its colors, white, 
lead-color, and copper. November 7th. At ten o'clock to- 
day dropped anchor in the river. On landing, learned that 
Abraham Lincoln had been elected President of the United 
States. Heard of the conversion of my children. Took train 
for Wilson at 6 p.m. November 8th. In Baltimore at eight. 
Went to Washington, where we remained until 6 p.m. Strolled 
through Patent Office and Capitol. Sad feelings. Perhaps 
this may never be occupied by the Congress of the United 
States again. November 9th. Reached Wilson at 2 p.m. 
(after several stops on the way from New York City). Joyful 
meeting with my wife and children." 

Thus closed one of the most interesting and significant 
epochs in Dr. Deems's life, a period which, had its close not 
been shadowed by war-clouds, would have been looked back 
upon by him as one of almost undimmed sunshine. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE WAR, 1861-65 

" Where we lay, 
Our chimneys were blown down ; and as they say, 
Lamentings heard i' the air ; strange screams of death ; 
And prophesying, with accents terrible. 
Of dire combustion, and confused events, 
New hatched to the woeful time." 

AS Dr. Deems landed upon the wharf in New York City that 
l\. bleak November day in i860, the first thing he heard was 
that Mr. Lincoln had been elected President of the United 
States. Remembering all that had transpired in the deep and 
angry slavery debates between the extremists on both sides, and 
especially the John Brown raid, which was virtually the first 
battle of the war, he foresaw clearly that Mr. Lincoln's election 
meant civil war, and lost no time in rejoining his family. Ar- 
riving at his home in Wilson, he found himself confronting a 
situation which was indeed so menacing, so intricate and per- 
plexing, that few men knew what best to do. The conflict 
of opinion had reached the explosive stage ; madness seemed 
to rule the hour. The warning voices of sober men who would 
promote peace were raised in vain or silenced amid the mighty 
clamor ; individual and even State efforts to check the impend- 
ing and tremblingly poised avalanche were seen to be utterly 
in vain ; the strong undercurrent of conservative good sense 

169 



170 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

and calm reflection was overborne by the elements of strife 
and revolution. 

Posterity and future history will render a different and more 
impartial verdict in favor of the mass of the people of the 
South, especially of North Carolina. Already we have seen 
much of the unjust harshness and rancorous asperities of the 
post-bellum sentences ehminated or softened down by the 
justice of time. It is now seen that it is possible for a few 
opposing extremists in power to plunge a whole people, de- 
spite themselves, into war. 

With the peace- and Union-loving patriots of that day Dr. 
Deems was in cordial sympathy. When the war broke out 
there was no man in the State of North Carolina who was 
personally known to so many people as he; and since the 
war, with the sole exception of the late Senator Z. B. Vance 
(war governor of North Carolina), no man ever was known 
personally to more North Carolinians than Dr. Deems, thanks 
to his popularity, his eloquence, and the itinerant feature of 
the Methodist ministry. He was opposed to his State with- 
drawing from the Union, believing such a course to be not 
unconstitutional, but inexpedient ; but when North Carolina 
decided to secede he went heart and soul with his people. As 
to slavery, while he was not its rabid advocate, yet he knew 
that as it existed in his State slaveholding was not a crime, 
that slaves and slaveholders were Christians, and died as Chris- 
tians, and were buried side by side, and that much that was 
said about the abuses of slavery was absolutely false, so far, at 
least, as North Carolina was concerned. 

In common with the majority of Southerners, when the war 
closed and slavery was abolished Dr. Deems was glad that it 
was gone. He was of those who believed that slavery would 
have been abolished eventually by the process of gradual 
voluntary manumission. Living on the ground, he did not 
see those horrible things which were said of the abuses of the 



THE WAR 171 

relationship of master and slave ; but residing in the South, he 
did see certain things that in his opinion sufficiently amelio- 
rated the state of affairs to warrant the nation in getting rid 
of slavery by less bloody measures than a gigantic civil war. 
So it must not be supposed that Dr. Deems regarded the 
course of the Southern people as wrong. He did regard 
secession as inexpedient and deemed its advocates mistaken. 
He, in common with many good men, beheved in the " sacred 
right of revolution for the redress of insupportable grievances." 

In these memoirs we would fain pass over those four years 
of fratricidal strife, from the spring of 1861 to the spring of 
1865 ; but this cannot be done, for they are matters of irrevo- 
cable history and played an important part in molding Dr. 
Deems's character and shaping his destiny. It will be seen 
from the extracts from his journal and letters that, never hav- 
ing been a preacher of partizan pohtics, he did not begin to 
be one when war came. Being a minister of the gospel, he 
did not bear arms ; but he did toil indefatigably to comfort 
the bereft at home and inspire the heroes at the front. He 
gave his oldest son, Theodore, to the army, to fall with a 
mortal wound fighting heroically on the second day of Gettys- 
burg's bloody field. 

While visiting and toiHng in the Wilmington and Newbern 
districts, over the latter of which he was made presiding elder 
in December, 1862, he also canvassed the whole State in the 
interests of a fund for founding and supporting a " Col- 
lege for the Orphans of Southern Soldiers." Soon after the 
commencement of the war the young men and boys of his 
military academy either went to the army or were taken home 
by anxious parents ; so that it was only a matter of a few 
months before that department was closed. But the seminary 
for young ladies was with great difficulty kept up until the 
close of 1863, when it seemed best to Dr. Deems to sell his 
Wilson property, close his school, and move to Raleigh. But 



172 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

we will let him speak for himself of these and other interest- 
ing matters. 

From His Journal, 1861 

"Tuesday, January ist. The new year makes its advent 
in gloom. The secession of South Carolina and the events 
consequent thereupon have thrown the whole country into 
trouble. Every day the telegrams become more distressing. 
No one now sees what is to be the result. The greatest pres- 
sure exists in trade." 

"Saturday, April 13th, Providence, Duplin County, N. C. 
Heard that yesterday General Beauregard had opened the as- 
sault upon Fort Sumter, This is the beginning of our Civil 
War. The excitement rises." 

"Sunday, April 14th. Fort Sumter last night fell into the 
hands of the Confederate troops. No one killed on either 
side, except three men by accident after the surrender. The 
excitement of war news growing intense." 

"Tuesday, April i6th, Wilson, N. C. The news to-day is 
that General Scott has resigned and that Virginia has seceded," 

" Wednesday, April 1 7th. Lincoln's proclamation has stirred 
the country. North Carolina is in revolution. Forts Caswell 
[near Wilmington, N. C] and Macon have been taken by the 
Confederates. An order came to-day for the Wilson Com- 
pany to proceed to Fort Macon. The ladies are at work on 
mattresses and shirts. All the country astir." 

"Thursday, April i8th. Had hard work to keep my boys 
from breaking up and going to the war. The Wilson Com- 
pany left in the two-o'clock train. John W. Dunham, my as- 
sistant, is with them. Patriotic speech to the troops. Virginia 
seceded to-day at 4 : 20 A. m. It was proclaimed at noon." 

"Sunday, April 21st, Clinton, N. C. Heard to-day that 
the Baltimoreans had withstood Northern troops and there 
had been loss of life." 



THE WAR 173 

" Monday, April 2 2d, Wilson, N. C. At night the Georgia 
troops passed through and I addressed them at midnight." 

" Friday, April 26th. Went to Wilmington. Stayed with 
the Rev. M. Robbins. Many of the men of the town are at 
Fort Caswell. My son Theodore came down with me." 

" Saturday, April 27th. Met the Rev. I. B. Bailey (at Pros- 
pect, New Hanover County) and held Quarterly Conference. 
Theodore (seventeen years of age) went to Fort Caswell to go 
into the fort as secretary to Captain Hedrick. Returned to 
Wilmington. Tea with the Rev. T. W. Guthrie. Went down 
to the evening train and saw the Hon. Alexander Hamilton 
Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederate States of America. 
Small man, big head, clear voice, rapid enunciation. Good 
talk. He was much jaded, was just from Richmond, taking 
Virginia into the Confederation." 

To His Sofi 

"Wilmington, April 29, 1861. 

" My dear Son : Your note of yesterday gave me much 
pleasure. That to your mother will go up to-day. On 
Saturday evening Vice-President Stephens passed through town 
and made a short speech. In private he said that the march 
upon Washington was mere newspaper talk, that of course it 
would not be made until war should be declared by the 
Southern Confederacy, and that that would not be done, of 
course, before the assembling of Congress. We have, how- 
ever, plenty of work to do in perfecting our home defense and 
drilling our men. We must not go too fast. The North is 
putting itself in complete array and the feeling is deepening. 

'* For yourself, I can give you no better advice than that of 
the town clerk of Ephesus : ' Do nothing rashly.' Your surest 
place is the post of duty. Rise by doing just what is needed 
in your position. Your work will often require haste, never 



174 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

hurry. Be thoughtful. A sh'ght mistake in a subaltern may 
produce very disastrous consequences. You will be noticed 
early enough and advanced. Let all about you acquire con- 
fidence in your judgment, coolness, rehability, and promptness. 
Guard against the infection of moral evil in the camp. ' My 
son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.' If your course 
of carefulness cause a sneer at first, it will produce respect 
afterward, and perhaps at the moment may strengthen some 
weaker soul in the struggle with the tempter. Attend to your 
private devotions and study God's blessed Word. 

" Collect all the facts you can this week, and I will en- 
deavor to be down next Monday, and we may be able to 
decide upon something. You need make no haste in that, 
however. If you are useful in your present position, that is 
enough. Preserve all the letters you receive ; when you be- 
come an old man they may be highly interesting and impor- 
tant as showing the temper of these trying times. May the 
Lord keep you. 

"Your affectionate father, 

"Charles F. Deems. 

"T. D. Deems, 

" Fort Caswell, N. C." 



From His Journal, i86i 

" Thursday, May 2d, Wilson, N. C. My male school nearly 
broken up. The boys who have not gone to the war have 
been recalled by their parents." 

" Monday, May 6th. Went down [from Wilmington] to 
Fort Johnston and thence to Fort Caswell. Mrs. Deems and 
Minnie returned. Frank and Eddie stayed with me all night 
in the fort. Preached at the fort, Philippians i. 21. Very 
many of the soldiers were present. An impressive time. The 
singing of ' Old Hundred ' was remarkable." 



THE WAR 175 

"Tuesday, May 7th. Slept last night in the hospital, Fort 
Caswell. This morning, with Lieutenant Mcllhenry, went in 
a boat to Fort Johnston. We swamped and were obliged to 
be put into a lighter. Preached at Fort Johnston, but was in- 
terrupted by the steamer bringing troops. From Fort Caswell 
we carried the Wilmington Light Infantry to Federal Point." 

" Wednesday, May 8th. There was an alarm in Wilming- 
ton this morning that troops were landing on Oak Island to 
attack Fort Caswell. Turned out to be false, but made much 
excitement." 

" Monday, May 20th. Went to Raleigh. Was present at 
the convention, which adopted the ordinance of secession 
whereby the State of North Carolina resumed her sovereignty. 
At the close of the voting Governor Ellis and I went to the 
west window of the capitol and gave the signal for artillery 
discharge. Great enthusiasm." 

"Tuesday, May 21st. Had an interview, at his request, 
with the governor. Gave him many of my views on matters 
and things. Do not like the way they manage matters. At 
the request of Weldon N. Edwards, president, I opened the 
convention with prayer, the first prayer after North Carolina 
had become one of the Confederate States. At night the 
ordinance was signed." 

"Tuesday, May 28th. Theodore went to Norfolk." 

"Monday, June 3d, Wilmington. At tea Frank arrived 
with Theodore's commission as second heutenant. Company 
K, Seventh Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers." 

" Tuesday, June 4th. Returned to Wilson, where I found 
Theodore, who had accepted the appointment of second heu- 
tenant, etc. Battle of Bethel Church." 

"Thursday, July 4th. Fourth of July! Eighty-one years 
and the country disrupt! Was to have delivered a speech in 
Cheraw, S. C, to-day, but here I am on a bed of sickness in 
Wilmington. ' Man proposes, God disposes.' " 



176 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

"Thursday, July i8th. All interest seems absorbed in the 
war." 

"Friday, July 19th. Left for Wilmington. Heard of a 
great battle fought yesterday at Bull Run in Virginia, in which 
the Confederates were victorious. A few such conflicts ought 
to terminate the war." 

"Monday, July 2 2d. Great news to-day of the splendid 
victory achieved yesterday by our forces at Manassas Junction." 

" Tuesday, July 23d. Very anxious to hear the particulars 
of the great battle, a number of our Wilson men being in it. 
Sad, sad war! " 

" Tuesday, July 30th. Left Wilmington in 5 a.m. train 
and reached Wilson at noon. Rode much of the time in mail- 
car, where I met Lieutenant Blocker. At Wilson, Arthur B. 
Davis, of Georgia, shot and instantly killed Captain Charles 
H. Axson, of Charleston, S. C. I cared for the corpse, and 
after the inquest directed and aided in washing, dressing, etc. 
Melancholy task." 

"Saturday, August 17th. Preached at Fifth Street Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, Wilmington. Sometimes one seems 
inspired in preaching; so this morning. Never can repeat 
this sermon." 

"August 29th, 30th, 31st. News reached us that the bat- 
teries at Hatteras had been taken by the Federals. Dull hearts. 
The Hatteras news very troublesome. The people flying from 
Newbern. I went to Goldsboro. Saw very many of my 
friends. A great crowd going to Western villages. Went to 
the graveyard to see little George's grave." 

" Monday, September 2d. At work in the schools. Dull 
times. Wilson greatly deserted, and all depressed by the 
Hatteras news." 

"Tuesday, September loth, Wilmington. Bought the girl 
' Nicey ' from the estate of James Sampson [a free negro who 
owned many slaves] ; paid five hundred and twenty-five dollars." 



THE WAR 177 

" Wednesday, December 4th. My forty-first birthday. The 
Lord God have mercy upon me and pardon me all my past 
sins and delinquencies! And the Lord smile upon me, and 
bless me, and lead me to devote all my coming life thoroughly 
to his service! The bishop [Andrew] having failed to arrive, 
the conference [at Louisburg, N. C] elected me president. 
Did much business." 

1862 

"Monday, February loth. Went by rail to Wilmington 
and there heard of the terrible disaster to our forces at Roa- 
noke Island. A gloomy season. Went to Goldsboro, where 
General Gatlin seized the train, turned out the passengers, and 
put in soldiers. I was permitted, however, to come on, and 
had a pleasant ride with Colonel Levinthorpe." 

" Tuesday, February i8th. Great gloom over the commu- 
nity by reason of the fall of Fort Donelson. Our men are 
said to have fought well and to have been overpowered by 
numbers. It is the hour of darkness with the Confederacy." 

" Friday, February 2 1 st, Wilmington, camp of Twenty-eighth 
Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers. This being a day of 
fasting announced by the mayor, at the invitation of the chap- 
lain I preached for the regiment. Great attention. Hope 
good was done. Went in steamer ' Hunt' up the Cape Fear 
River. Read German poetry on the way." 

"Saturday, February 2 2d. This morning at five left the 
steamer at Mr. Guion's landing, because the flood in the river 
kept me from landing at Major Richardson's. Mr. and Mrs. 
Guion very kind. Mr. Guion sent me to Wesley Purdie's. 
Took boy and horse and crossed the river, and took down 
fences, finally reaching Bethlehem in time to preach and hold 
Quarterly Conference. Then dined at Dr. Richardson's and 
stayed all night at Major Richardson's. Pleasant visits." 

"Friday, March 14th. The battle of Newbern fought to- 



178 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

day. Our forces were defeated by overwhelming numbers of 
the enemy. They retreated and fell back to Kingston. Not 
knowing of the disaster, I went with a squad to Goldsboro, 
but before night the trains began to pour in, bringing wounded, 
the baggage, refugees from Newbern, and soldiers. The rout 
was terrible. The excitement in Goldsboro was intense. I 
waited on General Gatlin and urged that he should arrest the 
fugitives, reform them, and send them back. Stayed all night 
at Frank Kornegay's. Dr. Foard, who was in the battle, 
slept with me. The Rev. Dr. Gloss arrived in town, looking 
for his son." 

"Saturday, March 15th. This morning we finally started 
the train for Kingston. I went with them as far as Mosely 
Hall on the railroad. My friend Z. H. Greene was with me. 
It rained. At Mosely Hall I met my friend Miss Harriotte 
Cole, of Newbern, and went with her to Mr. Joyner's, where 
I was politely treated. Mrs. Lavinia Roberts, Miss Cole's 
sister, is with her ; also three children of Mrs. Roberts, two 
of Mrs. Taylor; also Captain Hugh L. Cole. Mr. Wooten, 
seventeen years of age, from Fayetteville, with a bad wound in 
his arm, is here. In the evening I aided Dr. Adam Davis to 
dress the wound. Have had a most fatiguing day. Have 
persuaded my friends to go M'ith me. Oh, horrible war!" 

" Sunday, March 1 6th ! How unlike a Sunday this has been ! 
This morning, after a scuffle, I succeeded in putting all the 
Cole family and servants on board the cars, except ' Hattie,' 
with all the baggage, numbering over thirty pieces. But after 
the train was in motion I saw that Hattie was left. I leaped 
off and let all go. Finding Hattie, I took her in Dr. Adam 
Davis's buggy to Goldsboro. My shawl had been stolen, but 
all else was complete. At night I succeeded in putting all the 
baggage, except five or six pieces, on the cars, and before mid- 
night we were all in Wilson. What a day of exertion! O 
Lord, how long? " 



THE WAR 179 

" Monday, March 17th. Great excitement in the country. 
Troops passing and repassing. Tuesday, March i8th. At 
home keeping the school going. Wednesday, March 19th. 
Went to Goldsboro with stores for the hospital. Found many 
poor fellows wounded. Returned at night." 

" Sunday, April 20th. Should have been at Queen's Creek, 
Onslow County. The enemy have possession of that county. 
A dark day. Hour and power of darkness. In my weakness 
[he was ill] all past troubles came back like a tide, and the 
future darkened. At night Anna and Hattie came to my 
rescue, talked to me like Christian women, soothed me, and 
sent me to bed quiet as a child. ' Lord, save, or I perish! ' " 

" Thursday, April 24th. To-day went into the school and 
taught a little, Mrs. Deems being unwell. I have suffered 
from an attack of a bilious nature and then with an inflamma- 
tion of the right eye. It has been a tedious time. Dr. B. B. 
Williams has waited on me most skilfully, and Mrs. Deems 
and my friend Hattie Cole have devoted themselves beautifully 
to me. April 25th. After twenty-two days' confinement to 
the house I walked out for the first time. April 26th. A 
long, dark, gloomy, rainy day. I should have been at Shal- 
lotte Camp, in Brunswick, attending to the Smithville Quarterly 
Conference, but for my sickness. The Lord's will be done." 

" Saturday, May 3d. All day long under the influence of 
quinine. The afternoon was so beautiful I rode with Mr. 
Greene to the country. In the evening several friends called. 
Dr. Dickson thinks I can preach once to-morrow if I am 
willing to have a fever after doing so. It has been so long 
since I spoke a word for Jesus that I think I am willing." 

"Thursday, June 26th. Went to Petersburg, Va. Called 
on the Brownleys. The first discharge of artillery which I 
have heard came booming over Petersburg to-night, and dis- 
tinct flashes could be seen in the northeast. Shook the win- 
dows all night. Was very sick all night. June 27 th. Felt 



180 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

very sick this morning, but took the train after breakfast, went 
to Richmond, and put up at the Exchange Hotel. The Sec- 
retary of War gave me a pass, but I could not find passage to 
the camp. The great battle of Richmond began yesterday. 
A terrible fight. We are succeeding. All the city in an 
immense stir. Saw John Dunham to-day." 

" June 28th. To-day I went with the ambulance to the 
battle-field over Meadow Bridge on the Chickahominy, up by 
Mechanicsville, down by Ellison's Mill, where there was such 
carnage, and out to Beulah Church. Oh, the sights! Dead 
men and horses. Wounded men and horses. Great crowds 
of wounded hobbling along or carried in ambulances. Pla- 
toons of prisoners being marched in. The dust immense. 
Went to hospital at Hood's brigade. More than a hundred 
lying with every kind of wound. Went over to Beulah Church. 
Saw Drs. Stith and Pearsall, of North Carolina. A hun- 
dred wounded and dead men here. Came home at night, and 
reached the ladies' seminary at eleven o'clock with twenty-two 
wounded men. Went to Kent, Paine & Co.'s hospital, and 
saw Clark, of South Carolina, in the agonies of death." 

" Sunday, June 29th. Heard the Rev. Dr. Minnegerode this 
morning. No services in the churches the balance of the day. 
Visited John Dunham and spent the rest of the time in the 
hospitals. What scenes of suffering, and how bravely our men 
bear it!" 

" Monday, June 30th. To-day Dr. Basham let me have his 
horse, and I went out the Williamsburg road two miles, then 
down the Charles City road. Met Basil Manly's company of 
artillery coming round to reinforce General Longstreet. Fell 
in with General Ransom's brigade. Dined with General Ran- 
som, Colonel Ransom, Colonel Cutts, Colonel Vance, Ashe, 
Broadnax, et al., on a cracker and a half. Went on to camp 
of Twelfth Virginia Regiment ; then forward, where I over- 
took the regiment of Dr. Frank Disosway, my wife's brother. 



THE WAR 181 

Saw him. Had several broken interviews near Mrs. Fisher's. 
Went on to White Oak Swamp. The enemy had cut down 
obstructions and made a stand. An artillery fight of two 
hours ensued, and I was caught in it. The shells went over 
and around me. It was fearful. God was my stay. Returned 
to Richmond at ten, dreadfully tired." 

"Tuesday, September i6th. Have been revolving in my 
mind a plan to obtain an endowment for a military college to 
educate the orphan boys of such of our fellow-citizens as shall 
fall in this war. At night mentioned it to my wife and to 
Messrs. Daniel and Moses Rountree, who approve. Wednes- 
day, September 17th. Am thinking more and more about 
my plan for endowing orphan college. O Lord God, guide 
me ; take away all wrong and selfish motives and help me to 
be pure and do purely. Thursday, September i8th. Day 
of thanksgiving appointed by the President. After preaching 
a sermon (Isa. Iv. 12, 13) I proposed my plan for endowing 
a military college for soldiers' orphans to several gentlemen, 
who approved. Mr. Zeno H. Greene dined with us. We 
opened a subscription, which at bedtime amounted to fifty-one 
hundred dollars. Laus Deo! Thursday, September 25th. To- 
night we held our first regular meeting of subscribers to the 
orphan college. Our fund has gone up to eighty-two hun- 
dred dollars." 

" Friday, October 3d. Engaged in teaching in the school 
and in bringing up my correspondence. Heard from my son 
Theodore through a letter from Dr. Frank Disosway, the first 
intimation in three weeks. Saturday, October 4th. Went to- 
day to and found on the car. He had heard of 

Theodore's safety in camp. Great relief. Had pleasant time. 

Mrs. is always charming ; her heart seems like a trap 

to catch sunbeams. Tuesday, October 7th. Came home. 
Found a long letter from my son Theodore, which was a 
great relief." 



182 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" Sunday, November gth. The pastor being absent, I 
preached. In the afternoon visited the hospital. About 
tliree hundred soldiers there. In the evening alarming news 
came of the enemy arriving at Greenville in gunboats. Mr. 
Russell came for his daughter. Monday, November loth. 
Things more quiet to-day. Some aggravation of the news 
from Greenville in the evening. It is said that fifteen gun- 
boats are in the river. What am I to do with this houseful of 
women and children? The Lord direct me!" 

" Wednesday, December 3d, Raleigh, N. C. The twenty- 
second session of the North Carolina Conference was opened 
in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Bishop 
Early presiding. As usual, I am thrown upon a number of 
the hardest- working committees, besides being presiding elder. 
Monday, December 8th. Conference adjourned to-night, and 
I was appointed to Newbern district." 

" Monday, December 15th. We hear that General Lee has 
repulsed the enemy at Fredericksburg, but we can learn no 
particulars. The enemy are apparently advancing upon 
Goldsboro. Tuesday, December i6th. The fighting has 
been going on about the Neuse River below Goldsboro. The 
enemy seem to have crossed at White Hall. We learn that 
they destroy houses and other property in their march. Wednes- 
day, December 17th. Many of the wounded are being sent 
from Goldsboro. Saturday, December 20th. On a freight- 
train came to Goldsboro with my son Frank. The enemy 
have beat a retreat and are below Kingston. Thousands of 
troops are around Goldsboro. The bridge over the Neuse has 
been destroyed." 

" Monday, December 2 2d. Was carried in a wagon [from 
Goldsboro] by a man named Smith to the Neuse River, across 
the county bridge, finding troops of soldiers. Walked with 
the Rev. D. C. Johnston and others to Everittsville, where I 
dined with Mrs. Everitt. Went to William Carraway's, where 



THE WAR 183 

I spent the night. The enemy had burned the railroad bridge 
and torn up some rails. Tuesday, December 23d. Carraway 
gave me an account of his captivity ; was prisoner seven 
hours. The enemy have stripped some houses of everything, 
leaving many of the poor in great suffering. To Faison's by 
carriage. To Wilmington by train, arriving at 2 a.m. Wednes- 
day morning." 

" Wednesday, December 31st. Closed the day at a prayer- 
meeting in the church. It is solemn to take leave of another 
year, with its sins and follies, its efforts and successes and 
failures, its joys and sorrows, its losses and gains ; and it is 
very solemn to stand at the door of another year, to watch it 
open upon the invisible future. Blessed be God for all his 
mercies! God be merciful to me a sinner!" 

1863 

" Wednesday, January 28th, Wilmington. Bought one hun- 
dred bushels of ground-peas [peanuts] to send to Petersburg, 
Va., for sale to make oil. I am in St. Paul's case when he 
was reduced to tent-making to support the outward man while 
he preached the gospel, with this difference, that I do not 
know how to make tents and must do what is within my ca- 
pabilities. The war has reduced us to this. Settling up my 
salt affairs. [He was interested in some salt-works on the 
coast. — Eds.]" 

" Friday, May 8th. These several days we have been ex- 
ceedingly solicitous to hear from our boy Theodore, who has 
been in the terrible battle near Chancellorsville, in which 
General Lee has defeated the enemy and General Jackson 
has been seriously wounded ; but had to leave home without 
hearing a word. Went to Goldsboro. Monday, May nth. 
Compelled to leave for Columbus. No news from my dear 
boy. My strength seemed failing, when a young gentleman 



184 . CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

informed me that a letter had been received from Theodore ; 
that he was well. Just afterward Miss Hattie Cole handed 
me a letter from him. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Went 
on my way rejoicing." 

" Tuesday, June 2d. Believing that Lee's forces are about 
to move, at the advice of my wife and the Rev. Mr. Cunning- 
gim, I started for Virginia to see Theodore. Rode all night 
on the cars. Thursday, June 4th. About nightfall reached 
on foot camp of Iverson's brigade. My son much surprised 
at seeing me. After supper went over to wagon camp, where 
I lay down upon the ground with very light covering, but 
slept sweetly. Wednesday, June loth. Parted [at Culpeper 
Court-house] with my son, perhaps for the last time in this 
life. [This proved prophetic, for Lieutenant Theodore D. 
Deems fell at Gettysburg.] Reached Richmond and put up 
at the Powhatan House." 

"Thursday, July 9th. Reached home [from his district] 
very much fatigued, and while at my desk bringing up my 
correspondence received a telegram from Captain West that 
my dear boy Theodore had been severely wounded at Gettys- 
burg. At last this suffering comes! Was up nearly all night. 
First night of my life in which I did not sleep a moment ffotn 
sunset to daybreak." 

His journal then goes on to tell of an intensely interesting 
but painful visit which Dr. Deems immediately made to the 
front in search of his wounded son. But his efforts were vain. 
All he could learn positively was that his son had been left, 
wounded, near Gettysburg, and had probably fallen into the 
hands of the enemy. So he sadly returned to his home and 
his duties. The most conflicting rumors came to the family : 
that the wounds were slight, that they were fatal, that Lieu- 
tenant Deems had been seen in a Northern prison, and so on 
until the family were harassed beyond measure. At length, 



THE WAR 166 

about two months after the battle of Gettysburg, on Monday, 
September 14th, while attending Quarterly Conference at 
Goldsboro, through a letter from a Rev. Mr. Skinner, Dr. 
Deems received certain information of the death of his be- 
loved Theodore. He returned to Wilson immediately to 
carry the sad intelHgence to his wife and children. 

From His Journal 

"Wednesday, i6th, Thursday, 17th, Friday, i8th, Saturday, 
19th. Sad, mourning days, spent in condoling with my family, 
in writing letters to friends, in arranging the papers of my dear 
departed boy." 

"Wednesday, September 23d. My servant Rachel fast 
sinking." 

In the course of time it was learned that in the absence of 
Captain Taylor, of Company G, Fifth North Carolina State 
Troops, Lieutenant Deems was on the first day acting captain, 
and while enthusiastically leading and cheering on his men 
during one of Gettysburg's desperate and bloody charges, fell 
wounded in two places, the wound which proved fatal being 
in the hip. He was taken prisoner and kept, with other 
wounded men, on Hanky's farm. He here lingered until 
about July 17th, when his brave spirit was released and took 
its flight to that blessed realm where the horrors of war are 
forever unknown. 

Lieutenant Deems was a devout Christian and expected to 
devote his life to the ministry in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church. He was universally beloved, and his death was a 
dreadful blow to his home and friends. Happily he was not 
entirely without the ministry of- kind hands and sympathetic 
hearts as he approached and walked through the valley of 
death. A Northern gentleman and his wife, of the Christian 



186 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Commission, finding out from Lieutenant Deems that he was 
the son of a Methodist clergyman, did all they could for him, 
and were so thoughtful and good (God richly bless them!) as 
to cut off a lock of his hair and see that it, together with the 
lieutenant's sash and diary, finally reached the hands of his 
parents. Moreover, they marked the soldier's grave, and wrote 
to Dr. and Mrs. Deems in such a way that at the close of the 
war it was found by his family, and the remains transferred to 
the cemetery at Wilmington, N. C, By a strange providence, 
long after the war, Dr. Deems met this same gentleman while 
traveling on a train in the North, and met his wife while 
travehng in the South. Acts of Christian kindness toward 
enemies on both sides of the line, such as the one just recorded, 
reUeve our Civil War of some of its darkness and make us 
hopeful for humanity. 

After the death of his soldier son Dr. Deems flung himself 
into the work of teaching, preaching, and the soldiers' orphan 
fund with, if possible, even more consecration than ever. 
During the fall he was saddened by the fatal illness and death 
of his faithful servant Rachel, to whom he makes a touching 
allusion in his journal. At the close of 1863 Dr. Deems saw 
that it was useless longer to attempt to carry on his school ; 
so he rented a house in the suburbs of Raleigh, sold out at 
Wilson, and in the face of fearful odds moved to the State 
capital. 

From His Journal 

"Monday, December 28th, Wilson. Still amid the horrors 
of packing, and no prospect of removal. All things are dread- 
fully upset, but this evening I have been casting my care on 
the Lord and remembering what is written : ' Call upon me in 
the day of trouble ; I will deliver thee,, and thou shalt glorify 
me.* 'Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which 
thou hast caused me to hope.' " 



THE WAR 187 

"Tuesday, 29111, Wednesday, 30th, Thursday, 31st. These 
three days have been as the past, only more abundant. The 
trouble, care, physical labor, perplexity, and loss of a removal 
are so distressing that I think I will never move again. I go 
to Raleigh. If the capital of my State fall, I go down with it. 
If not, I hope to remain until peace comes ; then if I must 
move I will sell out wholly. It has been the darkest year of 
this war, and still there is no light. Our arms have few suc- 
cesses, the enemy many. Our legislators seem stricken with 
madness. All is dark. O Lord, teach me to stay my heart 
upon thee! My property is greatly diminished, my home is 
totally broken up, my first-born hath been slain, my servant is 
dead, my children's prospect of education is restricted, and 
many of my friends are wounded or prisoners, or in the enemy's 
lines, or in great bereavement. ' Our hght affliction, which is 
but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory.' " 

The year 1864 opened in gloom for the South, especially 
for Dr. Deems. The first days were spent in moving his family 
into the Raleigh house, which was named "Villula." The 
claims of the Newbern district kept him away from home most 
of the time, and the irregularities of trains often led to his 
sleeping on benches and goods-boxes in railway stations. 
These exposures aggravated his physical ailments in his eye, 
his ear, and his lame ankle. Nevertheless he wrought prodi- 
giously and successfully, bringing up the soldiers' orphan fund 
to one hundred thousand dollars. In November the state of 
affairs was such that he was again compelled to break up his 
home. 

From His Journal 

"Tuesday, November 22d, to Friday, November 25th, 
Raleigh. Days of extraordinary labor and trouble. Broke 



188 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

up my establishment at Villula and put my furniture about at 
different places in Raleigh. Cold weather and very heavy 
work. I could not have gone through my toils if the blessed 
Lord had not sustained me with the promise, ' As thy days, so 
shall thy strength be.' Saturday, December 31st. Blessed be 
God, who hath kept my feet from falling, my eyes from tears, 
and my soul from death! Amen." 

At length Dr. Deems entered upon the eventful year 1865. 
War matters for the first three months engrossed the attention 
of everybody. When the end came in April it found Dr. 
Deems's family living in the home of the Hon. D. M. Bar- 
ringer, in Raleigh. 

From His Jourtial 

"Saturday, March i8th, Raleigh. Johnston meeting Sher- 
man below Raleigh. Monday, March 20th. Generals Beau- 
regard and Jordan spent the evening with us until eleven 
o'clock. Mrs. Barringer's entertainment very handsome, and 
Beauregard's conversation agreeable. He appeared thought- 
ful and a little sad, I thought. He nevertheless expressed 
himself as hopeful of the Confederate cause." 

" Wednesday, April 5th. News came that Richmond had 
been evacuated. A terrible catastrophe. April 8th. Minnie 
came out of the lines with Colonel McKoy. Joy at the 
safety of my child. April loth. Governor Vance to-night 
informed me that the enemy were advancing upon Raleigh. 
Tuesday, April nth. Great excitement in the city. People 
leaving. I am making preparations to go. 

"On Wednesday morning, April 12th, I left Raleigh in a 
box-car with several other persons, on my way westward to 
keep in advance of the army, as General Johnston is falling 
back and Sherman will press forward. On my way to Greens- 
boro I heard that General Lee had surrendered to Grant. 



THE WAR 189 

The news is a terrible blow to our hopes of the final success 
of the Confederate cause. While in Greensboro Johnston 
made his headquarters near the town, and an armistice was 
held between Generals Johnston and Sherman, and terms were 
submitted which we supposed might secure something to us 
from the wreck. 

" In the meantime the news reached us that President Lin- 
coln had been assassinated. It was doubted by many, but it 
seemed to me to be true and dreadful. It will be greatly to 
the injury of the South. We seem to have a succession of 
horrors. I was ill all the while in Greensboro." 

"Easter Sunday, April i6th. No services were held in 
any of the churches of this city to-day. My son Frank ar- 
rived, with Hospital No. 7, from Raleigh. Sunday, April 
30th. Preached in Salisbury. The armistice ceased, where- 
upon Johnston surrendered. The war ended and our cause was 
lost! Oh, the precious blood and treasure expended! But 
as ' the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,' so all 
this sowing may arise in a glorious harvest hereafter. 

" ' O God, clouds and darkness are round about thee, but 
righteousness and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.' 

" But it is horrible to have no country! " 

After recovering in a measure from the blow caused by the 
tragic close of the war Dr. Deems boarded in Raleigh and to 
the end of the year wrought with what heart he could as pre- 
siding elder of the Newbern district. 

The North Carolina Conference, which met in Raleigh in 
December, elected him a delegate to the General Conference, 
granted him permission to go to New York City and establish 
a rehgious newspaper, whose purpose should be the promotion 
of the spirit of unity between North and South, and passed 
handsome resolutions concerning him. 



190 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 



From His Journal 

"Tuesday, December 19th. Left Raleigh, left dear North 
Carolina, started to my new Northern work. O God, if thou 
go not with me, lead me not up hence! Friday, December 
2 2d. Reached New York at night. Saturday, December 23d. 
We are staying at the National Hotel on Cordandt Street, 
Sunday, December 24th. Attended services at Trinity. Mon- 
day, December 25th. Christmas! Services in Trinity. All 
the remainder of the year engaged in securing lodgings, office, 
and contracts for printing. Put my family at French's Hotel, 
corner of Frankfort Street and City Hall Square. Office [of 
the ' Watchman '] at No. 1 19 Nassau Street, Room 21. Print- 
ing done by Gray & Green, corner Jacob and Frankfort streets." 



CHAPTER VII 

SETTLING IN NEW YORK, 1866-70 

STUDENTS of the Civil War between the States have 
often expressed wonder over the fact that after such a 
long, desperate, and stupendous strife there should have ensued 
such a speedy, real, and complete reconcihation. Is there any 
other explanation of this grand historical fact than that, first, 
it was not really a popular war,— a people's war,— but one 
sprung upon them ; and, secondly, that the Southern people, 
as a rule, did sincerely accept the decision of the war? There 
was no general desire upon their part to destroy the Union. 
Those who were participants in that great conflict, whether so 
voluntarily or, as was the case with the vast majority, such by 
the force of circumstances, and all fair-minded students of the 
war, recognize the fact that, but for certain unnecessarily harsh 
and vindictive post-bellum legislation, reconciliation of the two 
sections, and consequently rehabilitation of the South, would 
have obtained much sooner than it did. 

To cite but one of hundreds of similarly significant episodes, 
recall how men gazed with wonder, and all patriotic men with 
hearts full of joy and satisfaction, at the spectacle of the most 
prominent Southern generals acting as pall-bearers to those 
whom the fortunes of war had aforetime made their van- 
quishers ; the now feeble, gray-haired ex-Confederate leader, 
Joseph E. Johnston, following the bier of Sherman, and white- 

191 



192 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

headed old Simon Buckner following Grant's body to the grave ! 
All such things showed the existence of a patriotism which, 
outlasting the war, made speedy reconciliation not only a pos- 
sibility, but a fact, and the presence of influences which said, 
even before the echoes of the last gun had died away, " Now 
bring together, readjust, and insure those conditions most fa- 
vorable to the speediest reunion!" 

Filled with such true patriotism, Dr. Deems looked over 
the desolate field, and considered himself, and came to the 
conclusion that he could do the most good, with his special 
talents and influence, by publishing in the North a rehgious 
and literary paper devoted to the timely and supremely im- 
portant mission of bringing about a good state of feeling be- 
tween the sections. 

Before leaving North Carolina he laid the plan of his paper 
before the people and secured six hundred dollars in stibscrip- 
tions. This was the extent of the financial basis of the 
" Watchman " enterprise. More than half this sum was ex- 
pended in pubhshing the first number, which appeared Janu- 
ary ID, 1866. It was a bright, clean, elegant-looking paper, 
and drew out high encomiums from the best periodicals in 
both the North and the South. 

The undertaking was bold almost to rashness. All the mem- 
bers of the family who were old enough assisted in some way 
to get out the first issue. Fifty-two numbers were published. 
All the editing and most of the correspondence, bookkeeping, 
and mailing were done by Dr. Deems and his eldest son, 
Francis M. Deems. There was a gratifying growth of the 
subscription list, but the high quality of the paper, the lack of 
capital, the torn state of the country, and the poverty of the 
South made the publication of the " Watchman " an increas- 
ing burden. Harassed in body and mind. Dr. Deems, usually 
most sanguine, toward the end of the year went through sea- 
sons of deepest depression. In October the following four 
entries in his diary speak volumes: "October 2 2d. Exceed- 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 193 

ingly gloomy. October 23d. Very nervous. October 24th. 
Threatened with congestion of the heart. October 25th. Oh, 
that I had the wings of a dove; then I would fly away!" 
The " Watchman " ceased at the close of one year, but not 
without having accomplished much good. In view of the 
many hmitations under which it was published, it must be 
conceded that the late James Harper, one of the original 
members of the firm of Harper Brothers, was correct when he 
pronounced it " the greatest feat of publication ever achieved 
in New York." 

The failure of the " Watchman " was to Dr. Deems an al- 
most deadly blow, and he appeared to be confronted by defeat 
in his whole Hfe. But God had some better thing in store for 
him, as we shall soon see ; nor was he left entirely without 
faith and hope, for we find the following entry in his diary 
written across the week beginning December 12, 1866: "A 
week of darkening prospects so far as the ' Watchman ' is con- 
cerned. But my faith in the heavenly Father, that he will 
overrule all things for my good, is triumphant." 

This brings us to the supreme point in Dr. Deems's life, the 
founding of the Church of the Strangers. The story can never 
be told again as well as it has been in that deeply interesting 
little book, " A Romance of Providence ; or, A History of the 
Church of the Strangers." We refer to this work the reader 
who may care to enter more deeply than we can into the de- 
tails of the organization and work of this unique church. 
As Dr. Deems personally supervised and approved of this ac- 
count of the Church of the Strangers, written in 1887 by Mr. 
Joseph S. Taylor, of New York, a valued friend of Dr. Deems 
and an officer in the church, we have secured Mr. Taylor's 
permission to insert in these memoirs all that follows in this 
chapter. 

" It was amid Dr. Deems's terrific struggles with the ' Watch- 
man ' that the first steps were made which led toward the 



194 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Church of the Strangers. It will be remembered that Dr. 
Deems was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, still in such good standing there as to have been elected 
by his conference to the General Conference of his church, 
which was held in New Orleans in April, 1866, at which a 
number of votes were cast for him as bishop. This conference 
took him one month from his work on the ' Watchman.' He 
had no ecclesiastical associations in New York ; the differences 
between the Northern and the Southern Methodist churches 
never were so great, the feelings never so bitter. Dr. Deems 
had been in the Confederacy through the whole fight, and, as 
he once said, walked the streets of New York and engaged in 
his daily work with the weight of Andersonville prison around 
his neck. Neither his own family nor Southern people coming 
to purchase goods could attend church in New York ; for almost 
everywhere the pulpit resounded with denunciations of ' rebels ' 
and the ' rebellion,' and the voice of the gospel seemed hushed 
in the land. Dr. Deems has said that every Sunday through 
the winter and spring he had received a lashing in church. 
One Sunday afternoon, as he was then boarding in Fifteenth 
Street, he went to St. George's Church, of which the senior 
Dr. Tyng was rector. He was very tired, having worked hard 
during the week. The sexton refused to show him a seat ; he 
must wait till the pewholders were in. He stood twenty min- 
utes, until he became so weary that he was compelled to re- 
turn to his room without having the comfort of the service. 
He said that that made him determined, if ever he had rule in 
a church, no man should have to stand one minute who came 
in one minute before the service opened. Now (1887) St. 
George's is a free church, free to all strangers. 

" Invitations to deliver addresses began to reach the doctor. 
The American Bible Society, which had sent him as its general 
agent to North Carolina, asked him to make a speech at its 
anniversary ; this called attention to him afresh. There were 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 195 

noble Christians who rose above sectional strife and acknow- 
ledged Christianity wherever they saw its fruits. 

"On Sunday, July 15, 1866, Dr. Deems was invited to 
preach a sermon before the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion of the Hedding Methodist Episcopal Church, in Jersey 
City. Among those who were present was the wife of Mr. 
Frerichs, the artist. That lady had known the doctor when 
he was president of the college in Greensboro, N. C, but had 
not seen him for years. After hearing this sermon she fol- 
lowed him to the house where he was dining, and accompanied 
him to the ferry-boat, and employed the time with importuni- 
ties that he should begin preaching regularly in New York. 
His replies that there was no church of his denomination in 
the city, that there would be no propriety in attempting to es- 
tablish a Southern Methodist church, that he was making a 
violent effort to support his family and pay his debts, seemed 
to make no impression upon her. She spoke as if she regarded 
herself a prophetess sent to direct a servant of the Lord. As 
they parted she concluded her appeal by saying : ' I am very 
sure that God intends you to preach in New York. I do beg 
of you to promise me that you will preach just four weeks 
somewhere in New York, even if it is in a garret or a cellar or 
a tub!' The promise was extorted that an effort would be 
made to gratify her desire. 

" In accordance with this promise, next day Dr. Deems went 
to the university on Washington Square (of which institution 
he is now, 1887, one of the councilors) to see what he could 
do. He had seen the announcement of some preaching there. 
Upon his arrival he found a quiet, meek-mannered little jani- 
tor. The doctor asked him if a place for preaching could be 
hired in the university. 'For whom?' inquired the janitor, 
inspecting the doctor from head to foot. ' For me,' was the 
reply. ' No,' said the janitor; 'we have no place to suit jiw/.' 
This janitor died shortly after, and Dr. Deems never became 



196 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

well enough acquainted with him to ask what he meant by 
stating that there was no place that would suit him. It ap- 
peared that while the eloquent Rev. Dr. Hawks was occupy- 
ing the large chapel of the university an eccentric preacher 
was holding forth every Sunday afternoon in the smaller 
chapel, and that the latter apartment could be obtained for 
morning service at twenty-five dollars a month. That seemed 
to be within his reach ; at any rate, he determined to give out 
of his poverty that much to the Lord. On Saturday, July 
2 ist, he put this notice in the New York ' Herald ' : ' The Rev. 
Dr. Deems, of North Carolina, will preach in the chapel of 
the university to-morrow at eleven o'clock.' On Sunday, July 
2 2, 1 866, he repaired to the chapel, where he had to be his 
own sexton and precentor, and employed in the service such 
hymns as everybody knew, for there were no books. The 
congregation consisted of sixteen persons. The persons not 
of the preacher's family were, it is believed, the following : Mr. 
W. H. Chase, Mr. Clement Disosway, Mrs. and Miss Frerichs, 
Mr. Nehemiah Pratt, General Richardson, of Tennessee, J. M. 
Roberts, Dr. N. W. Seat, Mr. S. T. Taylor, Mrs. Mary E. 
Tucker, Mr. W. J. Woodward, Mr. A. C. Worth. (Six are 
dead [i886].) The text was, 'Philip went down to the city 
of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.' At the conclu- 
sion of the service it was announced that the doctor would 
preach on the next Sunday, and on the following Saturday the 
announcement was repeated in the ' Herald.' On Sunday, the 
29th, there were over thirty persons present. On Sunday, 
August 5th, there were over seventy persons present. As the 
preacher's promise did not bind him beyond the month and 
as he saw no way of continuing this work, he announced at 
the close of the service that for three weeks he had enjoyed 
Paul's pleasure of preaching in his own hired house, but that 
Paul must have found tent-making in the East more profitable 
than the preacher found journalism in the West, and that con- 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 197 

sequently the next Sunday would close this series of sermons, 
as he could not afford to preach for nothing and supply a place 
for service. A large number of those who had been attracted 
to the service were Southerners. One of them, General Rich- 
ardson, of Tennessee, asked the doctor whether, if a place 
were provided, he would continue to preach ; and the reply 
was that the preacher's Sundays were wholly unoccupied and 
he would willingly preach for those who desired to hear him. 
Whereupon it was proposed that a collection be taken up and 
that Dr. Deems be requested to continue preaching. The col- 
lection a little more than paid the month's rent. On the fol- 
lowing Sunday, the 12th of August, the chapel was packed; 
there had dropped in many whose churches were closed. It 
was then proposed that there be some regular organization to 
afford a free place of worship for strangers from all parts of 
the world who might be in the city. 

" At the close of the service it was resolved to form an ex- 
ecutive committee of gentlemen of different denominations to 
provide for keeping the place open for worship. They had 
the following card printed, to be distributed through the con- 
gregation and around the neighborhood : 

" ' THE STRANGERS ' SUNDAY HOME 

" ' In the chapel of the university, Washington Square, New 
York, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dr. Deems, of North 
CaroUna, there is a congregation composed of members of the 
different denominations of Christians. Divine service is con- 
ducted every Sunday, and no distinction of sectarianism is 
allowed. The worship of God is the simple object of the as- 
semblage. It is specially designed for strangers who visit the 
city and for particular pastoral oversight of the young men who 
have recently engaged in business in New York. A Sunday- 
school assembles at nine o'clock, and the public service begins 
punctually at half -past ten o'clock. The seats are free. All 



198 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

are cordially invited. Visitors to the city, if sick or needing 
a pastor, can have the services of the Rev. Dr. Deems, whose 

residence for the present is . 

" ' This enterprise is maintained wholly by voluntary contri- 
butions. You are respectfully requested to assist us. We so- 
hcit donations or weekly subscriptions. If you are residing in 
the city, please say how much you will pay weekly, and on 
Sunday deposit your contribution in the basket, in an envelope 
with your name upon it, so that you may be duly credited. 
The executive committee are: Major C. L. Nelson, 23 East 
Thirty-seventh Street; Dr. Gardner (of Evans, Gardner & 
Co.), 380 Broadway; Colonel B. B. Lewis (of Lewis, Daniel 
& Co.), 21 Nassau Street; S. T. Taylor, 349 Canal Street; 
Dr. Seat, 23 West Thirty-first Street; J. M. Roberts (of Ring, 
Ross & Roberts), 86 Front Street; K. M. Murchison, i88 
Front Street ; Dr. F. M. Garrett (of Garrett, Young & Co.), 
33 Warren Street; R. C. Daniel (of Lewis, Daniel & Co.), 21 
Nassau Street ; and J. L. Gaines (of Harris, Gaines & Co.), 
1 5 Whitehall Street.' 

" It will be observed that the pastor's residence was left in 
blank ; the income was so small and he was so compelled to 
study small economies that he had to look out for the cheap- 
est boarding-place in which he and his family could live in any 
degree of respectability. It is proper to add that a Sunday- 
school was formed in the very beginning, and put into the 
charge of Mr. R. C. Daniel, of Kentucky, of the firm of Lewis, 
Daniel & Co., then brokers in Wall Street. 

" The large chapel of the university was a much more com- 
modious apartment than the little chapel in which we wor- 
shiped. It was very beautiful. It has since been cut up into 
rooms for office purposes.* At that time it was occupied by 

* In 1895 the university building was taken down and a new structure 
erected on its site. 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 199 

a Protestant Episcopal congregation, in charge of the Rev. 
Dr. Francis L. Hawks. Dr. Hawks was a North Carolinian, 
and had distinguished himself at the bar in his own State be- 
fore he entered the Episcopal ministry. He had been rector 
of the old St. Thomas's Church when it stood at the corner of 
Broadway and Houston Street. He was magnificently gifted, 
a man of great natural eloquence, of varied learning, and of 
surprising powers of elocution. During the Civil War he had 
some trouble in New York and had gone to New Orleans. On 
his return to New York his friends rallied about him and were 
preparing to build him a new church, the nucleus of which was 
then the congregation of the large chapel of the university. 
Dr. Hawks died on the 26th of September, 1866. In his last 
illness he frequently sent for Dr. Deems. They had both re- 
cently been elected to chairs in the University of North Caro- 
lina, and had both declined. In one of the latest interviews 
between the two gentlemen. Dr. Hawks said to a friend that 
his chief ambition had been disappointed ; that for years it 
had been his desire to be president of the University of North 
Carolina and have Dr. Deems as his lieutenant, in the assur- 
ance that they two could make the university one of the 
greatest institutions in the country. He once said : ' Dr. 
Deems, three times I have been offered the miter, and three 
times have I put it aside. Never let your church make you 
bishop ; God has some better thing for you. Your calling is to 
preach Christ — Christ crucified. Pursue that steadily and have 
no doubt that God will give you great success in this great city.' 

"The year 1867 was a struggle for existence. Upon the 
death of Dr. Hawks, negotiations were made for the occupancy 
of the large chapel ; but the ' Strangers' Sunday Home ' could 
not be removed till the first Sunday in May, 1867. Its ac- 
commodations were then increased fourfold, but it was still a 
mere assembly without church organization. 

" In the autumn of 1867 many persons expecting to remain 



200 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

in the city, some a longer, some a shorter time, some perhaps 
permanently, came to Dr. Deems offering their church letters ; 
but there was no ' church.' These repeated offers led to much 
thought and prayer; consultation also was had with the au- 
thorities of the church of which Dr. Deems was then a minis- 
ter, and with other godly and learned persons. The result 
was a determination to organize, in the city of New York, a 
free, independent church of Jesus Christ, On the last two 
Sundays in December, 1867, it was pubhcly announced that 
on the first Sunday in January, 1868, such a church would be 
organized. The following was the paper read by Dr. Deems : 

" ' It is probably known to all present that I am a minister 
of the gospel in good and regular standing in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, and a member in particular of the 
North CaroHna Annual Conference. 

" ' In July, 1866, at the urgent request of Christian people 
of several denominations, I began preaching in the university 
of this city. At their urgency these services were continued 
until a congregation was formed of many who hold this as 
their regular place of worship, and of many others who are in 
occasional or very frequent attendance. The wants of many 
strangers visiting New York, and of many residents whose ec- 
clesiastical connections have not been permanently formed, 
seem to demand the existence of such an institution. So strong 
is the conviction of intelligent and devout people that such an 
undertaking should be persevered in that they united in a re- 
quest to the bishops of the church of which I am a clergyman, 
that I might be returned as pastor of this flock which God's 
providence has seemed to commit to my charge. In accor- 
dance with this expressed wish, the bishops at their annual 
meeting directed me to remain, and, in accordance with that 
action, the bishop presiding at the session of my conference, 
lately held, has appointed me to this work. 

" ' That all things may be done decently and in order, as 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 201 

the Apostle Paul directs, it appears to be necessary that some 
organization be made which shall give us a place among the 
churches of Jesus Christ. All of you who are communicants 
naturally desire to be acknowledged as regular members of the 
church militant, and that, when providential circumstances in- 
dicate the necessity of removal, you may be able to bear with 
you the evidence of having been orderly disciples of Christ and 
under Christian pastoral direction. 

" ' In Article XIX. of the Church of England, and in 
Article XIII. of the Articles of Rehgion of the church of which 
I am a minister, it is set forth that : " The visible church of 
Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure 
Word of God is preached and the sacraments duly adminis- 
tered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that 
of necessity are requisite to the same." 

" ' In the preface to the Book of Common Prayer of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America 
it is said that : " It is a most invaluable part of that blessed 
liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, that in his worship 
different forms and usages may without offense be allowed, 
provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire ; and that, 
in every Church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong 
to Doctrine must be referred to DiscipHne ; and therefore, by 
common consent and authority, may be altered, abridged, en- 
larged, amended, or otherwise disposed of, as may seem most 
convenient for the edification of the people, ' according to the 
various exigencies of times and occasions.' " 

" ' In its Form of Government, Chapter II., Section IV., 
published with its Confession of Faith, the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States of America sets forth that : " A 
particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, 
with their offspring, voluntarily associated together for divine 
worship and godly living, agreeably to the Holy Scriptures, 
and submitting to a certain form of government." 



202 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" ' Christianity exists subjectively in the rule of Christ in sim- 
ple individuals, objectively as an " organized visible society, as 
a kingdom of Christ on earth, as a church," "The word 
' church,' like the Scotch kirk, the German Kirche, the Swed- 
ish kyrka, and like terms in the Slavonic languages, must be 
derived through the Gothic from the Greek KvptaKog, i.e., be- 
longing to the Lord. It may signify the material house of 
God, or the local congregation, or, in the complex sense, the 
organic unity of all believers." 

" ' Believing these to be correct statements of the truth as 
touching this matter in the liberty wherewith Christ has made 
us free in the fear of God, and that for your edification the 
gospel may be preached and the sacraments duly administered 
and orderly discipline maintained, it is proposed that all who 
are like-minded do form themselves into a congregation of 
Christian people, of which I am to be the pastor so long as 
the providence of God and the authorities of my own branch 
of Christ's church shall continue me in this special office and 
ministry. 

" ' That I may surely know who are minded to be thus under 
my pastoral charge, I shall, if God will, on the next Lord's 
day, being the first Sunday in January, a.d. 1868, receive into 
this society all the following persons, to wit : 

'"(i) Such as present letters showing their good standing 
in any branch of God's visible church ; (2) such as declare that 
they have so been and desire so now to be, but by reason of 
circumstances which they could not control are not able to 
present letters of membership ; and (3) such as desire to join 
upon their sincere and hearty profession of faith in that state- 
ment of Christian doctrines commonly known as the Apostles' 
Creed, and of an earnest " desire to flee from the wrath to 
come, and to be saved from their sins." 

'"It is understood (i) that all such apphcants have been 
baptized or desire to receive Christian baptism in such mode 




The Church of thk Strangers, Exterior. 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 203 

as they may of conscience elect, by sprinkling, pouring, or 
immersion; (2) that all things thereafter necessary for the 
proper ordering of the things which Christ hath appointed to 
his church shall, so far as this congregation of faithful people 
may be concerned, be by them determined " according to the 
various exigencies of times and occasions"; (3) that nothing 
hereby or herein done shall be considered as affecting the re- 
lations to any branch of Christ's church now held by any, 
except so far as they themselves shall choose ; nor as in any 
way or degree touching the ecclesiastical relations of the pas- 
tor, or as modifying the present position or relations of such 
pewholders in this chapel * or other attendants upon the min- 
istry in this congregation as may not feel perfectly free to 
enter this Christian society. 

" ' Wherefore, as many as desire to avail themselves of the 
benefit of this organization will present themselves on the next 
Lord's day at the holy communion, that their names may be 
taken and registered as members of the Christian society to 
be known for the present by the name which in the past has 
distinguished it, the Church of the Strangers.' 

"On the fifth day of January, 1868, thirty-two persons en- 
rolled themselves according to the terms in the above paper, 
and formed themselves into the Church of the Strangers; 
whereupon the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was adminis- 
tered. 

"The Mercer Street Church was organized by the Third 
Presbytery of New York, October 25, 1835, with twenty-eight 
members, coming from six different churches, but the great 
majority of them from the Laight Street Church, a branch of 
the Spring Street Church. 

" During the summer of 1834 a fine house of worship had 

* This alludes to a few persons to whom, by special arrangement, pews 
had been let by the committee. 



204 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

been erected on Mercer Street, near Waverly Place, and the 
congregation went immediately into their new home. A call 
was given to the Rev. Thomas H. Skinner, D.D., LL.D., at 
the time professor of sacred rhetoric in Andover Theological 
Seminary. He accepted the call, and on November 1 1, 1835, 
was installed as first pastor of the new church. The congre- 
gation and membership grew rapidly in numbers and wealth, 
and at the end of Dr. Skinner's pastorate, February 17, 1848, 
there were over five hundred members on the roll. Dr. 
Skinner resigned to take the professorship of sacred rhetoric, 
pastoral theology, and church government in Union Theo- 
logical Seminary. 

"The Rev. J. C. Stiles, D.D., LL.D., succeeded Dr. 
Skinner, and was installed June 8, 1848, coming from the 
Shockoe Hill (now Grace Street) Church, Richmond, Va. 
Dr. Stiles's health failing him, he was compelled to resign his 
charge, which he did October 15, 1850. He accepted a 
general agency for the American Bible Society in the South, 
and subsequently occupied a pastorate in New Haven, Conn., 
and then took the lead in organizing the Southern Aid Soci- 
ety to give support to feeble churches in the South. In his 
latest years he labored as an evangelist in Virginia, Alabama, 
Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, and Maryland. 

" The Rev. Dr. George L. Prentiss became the third pas- 
tor and was installed April 30, 185 1, resigning on account of 
ill health May 3, 1858. After two years spent abroad Dr. 
Prentiss returned, and by earnest work gathered about him a 
new church, now the Church of the Covenant. He became 
pastor of this church in 1862, and resigned in 1873 to accept 
his present position as professor of pastoral theology, etc., in 
Union Theological Seminary. 

" The Rev. Dr. Walter Clarke was installed as Dr. Prentiss's 
successor in Mercer Street, February 16, 1859, and resigned 
December 26, i860. He was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 205 

Russell Booth, who was pastor when the property passed to 
the Church of the Strangers. 

" The whole number of persons admitted to membership in 
this church was two thousand and twenty-six, of whom seven 
hundred and forty-nine made profession of faith, and twelve 
hundred and seventy-seven were received by certificate. 

"In i86g the Mercer Street Presbyterian Church engaged 
lots from the Columbia College corporation, on which to erect 
a church for themselves. The accomphshment of the latter 
object would throw their church on the market. But the pro- 
posed new church was never built. On the sixteenth day of 
September, 1870, the Presbytery of New York united the 
Mercer Street Presbyterian Church with the First Presbyterian 
Church on University Place. By the terms of the union the 
new church was called the ' Presbyterian Church on University 
Place,' and the elders and deacons of the former churches be- 
came the elders and deacons of the new church. The Rev. 
Robert Russell Booth, D.D., who had been pastor of the 
Mercer Street Church since 1861, was duly installed by the 
presbytery on October 30, 1870, as pastor of the union church. 

" In the meantime the Mercer Street Church had offered 
their property to Dr. Deems for sixty-five thousand dollars, 
through his friend, the late General James Lorimer Graham, 
who was a member of the University Place Presbyterian 
Church. Dr. Deems offered them fifty thousand dollars for 
the property. Their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Booth, said he 
would rather Dr. Deems should have it for fifty thousand 
dollars than any other person for sixty thousand. 

"An important providential factor in the history of the 
Church of the Strangers must now be introduced. One Sun- 
day, during service in the chapel of the university, two ladies 
were in attendance, who after the service were introduced to 
Dr. Deems by the Rev. Dr. Charles K. Marshall, of Vicks- 
burg, as ' Mrs. Crawford and her daughter, of Mobile.' These 



206 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

ladies were visiting New York, and became interested in Dr. 
Deems as a clergyman of their own denomination. The 
younger of these ladies, in the summer of 1869, became the 
wife of the late Cornelius Vanderbilt. Mr. Vanderbilt's resi- 
dence was on the block next adjoining the university, but he 
never came to the services in that chapel. Mr. Vanderbilt 
had met the doctor once before the war, in i860, and was so 
impressed with what occurred at the interview that he repeated 
the conversation a few days before he died. This combina- 
tion of circumstances, and the late acquaintanceship, and a 
new wife, to whom he was most sincerely devoted, led the 
commodore to regard the work for the strangers with favor. 
He urged Dr. Deems to visit him, and often catechized him 
closely as to his views and plans. He admired the breadth 
of this new religious society, and believed in the orthodoxy of 
its pastor. 

" The commodore had never been a member of any church ; 
had been a very worldly and even profane man ; but he had 
from his earhest childhood the most unshaken faith in the 
Bible as the inspired Word of God. He became impatient at 
any contradiction of this idea ; he regarded that man untrust- 
worthy who did not receive the Bible as the Word of God. 
Toward the close of life, when he was in great agony, he ex- 
pressed the fear that after his death it might be supposed that 
he had been influenced on that question by his friend and 
pastor, and so he said to him : ' Doctor, when I am gone I 
leave you to do justice to my memory. I want it known that 
I always believed the Bible, and on that subject you have 
had no more influence over me than this fan which I hold in 
my hand.' Although he did become more attentive to reh- 
gious matters and more devout before his death, yet at this pe- 
riod of our history he beheved that there was such a thing as 
genuine religion, and that it was founded upon a belief in the 
Bible as the Word of God. Somehow he heard of the move- 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 207 

ment upon the part of the Mercer Street Presbyterian Church, 
and made up his mind to put it under the control of Dr. 
Deems. We cannot do better than to give the doctor's ac- 
count of the presentation in his own words, as reported in the 
' Homiletic Monthly,' of New York, July, 1880, and afterward 
repubhshed in a London periodical, from which it is here re- 
produced : 

" ' A short time before he started for the East, ovu reporter 
called on the Rev. Dr. Deems, to learn from him how he 
came in possession of the Church of the Strangers. The fol- 
lowing is his account : 

" ' " Well," said he, " the manual of the church shows how 
I came to be preaching in New York in 1866. Before the 
organization of any church and while I was simply preaching 
to strangers, a lady of high character living in Mobile, when 
on a visit to New York, always attended our service with her 
daughter. With them I became acquainted. The daughter 
was that excellent woman whom Commodore Vanderbilt had 
the good fortune to make his second wife. I had very shght 
personal acquaintance with the commodore, and had not seen 
him in six or seven years, so I supposed that I should prob- 
ably not again meet my fair hearers. I learned afterward that 
it had been intended that I should celebrate the marriage, and 
that it would have been done but for my absence. I also 
learned, after they had been married some weeks and were 
living within a block of the place where I was preaching, that 
there was a feeling that I was neglecting them. I have never 
gone after rich people nor particularly avoided them, but when 
a man conspicuous for wealth or position desires to know me 
he must always seek me. That was the only thing that had 
kept me from visiting the commodore and his new bride. But 
so soon as I discovered that it was expected, I called and was 
very warmly welcomed. 

" ' " The commodore paid me special attention ; we con- 



208 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

versed very freely, and I did not hesitate, when it was proper, 
to introduce the subject of religion and talk on it— I trust in 
a natural and proper way. On all the visits the commodore 
catechized me carefully about my preaching, my past history, 
and my expectations of the future. He was always answered 
frankly. One evening in the sitting-room the conversation 
ran upon clerical beggars. I acknowledged that in early life 
I had had some reputation in that line, but that I deprecated 
the whole business. ' Now,' said I, ' here I am. Have been 
preaching two years almost within earshot of the commodore. 
The rooms which I have occupied have been overrun with 
hearers. People have often said to me, " Why don't you see 
Mr. Lenox or Mr. Stewart or Mr. Astor or Commodore Van- 
derbilt, and ask them to build you the Church of the Strangers? 
They ought to do it for the good of the city." And yet,' I 
added, ' the commodore here will bear me witness that I have 
never sohcited a dollar from him for any object on earth.' 
Touching his wife, he said, ' Frank, that is so ; the doctor 
never has ;' and gave a look at his wife as much as to say that 
he wished by that observation to raise me in her estimation. 
The look evidently said that it had raised me in his. And I 
added : ' And, Mrs. Vanderbilt, so long as there is breath in 
his body I never shall.' Evidently he did not quite under- 
stand my remark, and changed his expression into one of those 
steely looks of his which were very piercing and very subdu- 
ing; but I never faltered— turning the whole thing off in a 
jocose manner by saying: 'For, if he has Hved to attain his 
present age and has not got the sense to see what I need and 
the grace to send it to me, he will die without the sight! ' We 
all smiled at that and the conversation changed. 

" '" On a subsequent visit I met Daniel Drew at the house. 
It was shortly after one of the great financial battles between 
Commodore Vanderbilt and Mr. Drew. The lion and the tiger 
were lying down a little while together. Mr. Drew had re- 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 209 

peatedly attended the services I was holding in the university 
chapel, and had echoed Mrs. Vanderbilt's earnest praises of 
the usefulness of our little congregation. The commodore 
catechized me closely as to my views of Christian work, and 
I answered him to the best of my ability and with frankness. 
About that time the Mercer Street Presbyterian Church had 
negotiated for lots up-town belonging to Columbia College, 
and had put their own edifice upon the market. Its pastor, 
Dr. Booth, had always seemed friendly to me. My friend, 
James Lorimer Graham, Esq., conversed with me about pur- 
chasing it, and I had authorized him to offer fifty thousand 
dollars. Somehow this had got to the commodore's ears, but 
I did not know it and did not intend to ask him for a cent. 
My impressions of his character at that time were, at least, not 
favorable. I regarded him as an unscrupulous gatherer of 
money, a man who aimed at accumulating an immense for- 
tune and had no very pious concern as to the means. The 
few interviews I had had with him after his marriage had 
modified my opinions of the man. I discovered fine points 
of which I had had no suspicion. But still I was a little afraid 
of him. 

" ' " On this particular Monday evening of which I speak 
he walked to the sitting-room door with me, as his wont was, 
and as I passed out he said, ' Doctor, come and see me to- 
morrow night.' 

" ' " ' I can't, commodore.' 

" "" Why can't you? ' said he, in the tone of a man not ac- 
customed to be refused. 

" "" Because,' said I, ' there are a couple of boys from the 
South here who have come to be clerks, and they have no 
friends, and I have asked them to my boarding-house to be- 
come acquainted with my family, hoping by this social tie to 
bind them to a virtuous course of living.' 

" "" Well, then,' said he, ' come around the next night.' 



210 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" ' " ' I can't, commodore,' was my reply. 

"""Why can't you?' 

" "" Because every Wednesday night I have a little prayer- 
meeting in the Bible House, never jnore than thirteen or 
fourteen, but almost invariably four or five, being present, and 
I can't disappoint them.' 

" ' '" Well,' said he, ' come around Thursday night.' 

'" '" I can't, commodore.' 

'" '" Why? ' he asked, with a good-natured growl. 

'" '" Because,' said I, ' I have engaged to marry a couple 
of very poor people on the West Side of the town, and it would 
never do to disappoint them. You know how that is yourself ' 
— alluding to the fact of his recent marriage, and of his not 
being able to find me to perform his marriage ceremony. 

" "" Well,' said he, pleasantly, ' doctor, come when you can.' 

" ' " Having pondered over the impressiveness and repeti- 
tion of his invitations, I concluded I would go on the follow- 
ing Saturday evening to make a call in acknowledgment of 
his hospitality. It was about eight o'clock. There were 
visitors. I sat about half an hour conversing with the circle, 
when I arose to go, telling the commodore that on Saturday 
evening ministers of the gospel ought to be quiet in their 
studies preparing themselves for the pulpit, and that I had 
simply called around to thank him for his kind invitations on 
the preceding Monday. He invited me into a little office ad- 
joining his bedroom, and sat down upon one side of the table 
and pointed me to a seat on the other. He said, ' Doctor, 
what is this about that Mercer Street property? ' 

'" '" Well,' said I, ' commodore, only this : it is in the mar- 
ket ; they want sixty-five thousand dollars for it, and I ventured 
to offer them fifty thousand. It is on leased ground, and I 
think it is about worth that.' 

" "" Well,' said he, ' how much have you got toward your 
fifty thousand dollars?' 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 211 

" ' " I felt in my pocket and playfully said, ' Well, sir, as 
near as I can judge, about seventy-five or eighty cents.' 

" ' " ' How do you expect to pay for it, then? ' 

" ' " ' Well, commodore, this is my thought about it. I have 
been here preaching some little time. My work seems to 
prosper. I shall propose to the Mercer Street Presbyterian 
Church to let me have their building for six months. I shall 
preach in it those six months. I shall announce to the people 
of New York that I wish to establish, on an unsectarian basis, 
a free church for all comers, especially for strangers in the city 
— a church that shall be evangelical and undenominational ; 
and I shall appeal for the money in large sums and small. 
Now, commodore, if God wants me to stay in New York and 
do this work to which my heart seems to be inclined, the 
money will come. If not, the Mercer Street brethren have 
only lost the use of their property six months, and it will have 
been employed in Christian work. But I believe the money 
will come and th? church go on.' 

" ' " He looked me straight in the eye and said, ' Doctor, 
I'll give you the church! ' 

" ' " I was mad in a minute. I had not been made so angry 
since I reached New York. I thought that Commodore 
Vanderbilt desired to obtain that property for some railroad 
or other business purpose, or for his estate — that he had some 
deep design, and chose to put me forward, supposing that I 
was a greenhorn of a parson from the pine forests of North 
Carolina, and he could use me. I fired up, and leaning upon 
the table looked him straight in the eye and said, * Commo- 
dore Vanderbilt, you don't know me! There is not any man 
in America rich enough to have me for a chaplain.' I shall 
never forget the look he returned. He had been accustomed 
to be solicited. Here he was, making the largest offer of 
charity he ever had made, and found a man refusing to ac- 
cept fifty thousand dollars! It was an amazed and quizzical 



212 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

look ; it was the look of a man who had a new sensation and 
could not tell whether he was enjoying it or not. As soon as 
he could frame a reply he said, ' Doctor, I don't know what 
you mean. Me have a chaplain! The Lord knows I've got 
as httle use for a chaplain as any other man you ever saw. I 
want to give you this church, and give it to you only. Now 
will you take it? ' 

" ' " I paused a moment, and felt that perhaps I had made 
a mistake in the man, and then said, ' Commodore, I should 
not like to be under so great a pecuniary obhgation to any 
gentleman that, when I had the guns of the gospel directed 
against the breastworks of any particular sin, and should see 
his head rising above them, I should be tempted to suspend 
my fire or change the range of my shot' 

" '" ' Doctor,' said he, ' I would not give you a cent if I 
did not believe that you were so independent a man that you 
would preach the gospel as honestly to one man as to another. 
Now I believe that and I want to give you the church.' 

" ' " After the discharge of the lightning of my anger, I felt 
that a sort of April shower was coming. My eyes were 
moistening. It seemed to me a wonderful providence ; and 
you know we always think it is a wonderful providence if it 
runs with our ideas. I extended my hand and said, ' Com- 
modore, if you give me that church for the Lord Jesus Christ, 
I'll most thankfully accept it.' 

" "" No,' said he, ' doctor, I would not give it to you that 
way, because that would be professing to you a religious sen- 
timent I do not feel. I want to give you a church ; that's all 
there is. It is one friend doing something for another friend. 
Now, if you take it that way I'll give it to you.' 

" ' " We both rose at the same moment, and I took his hand 
and I said, ' Commodore, in whatever spirit you give it, I am 
deeply obliged, but I shall receive it in the name of the Lord 
Jesus Christ.' 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 213 

" "" Oh, well,' said he, ' let us go into the sitting-room and 
see the women.' 

" ' " It so happened that the Mercer Street brethren were 
disappointed in their movement, and I felt in honor compelled 
to withdraw any claim I might have on what had occurred 
before, and for a considerable time after they occupied their 
church. After that long and tiresome suspense, again the 
church was offered me. I did not know that the commodore 
had not changed his mind. I had not talked with him on the 
subject since I announced that I was compelled to give up the 
church. But when the time came I walked in and said, 
' Commodore, this church is again in the market, and I can 
get it if I renew my proposition to them.' 

" ' " Said he, ' Offer them the fifty thousand dollars cash. 
The property is worth it and always will be worth it, even with 
the ground-rent. Fix the day for the transfer.' 

" ' " Through my friend, the late General James I.orimer 
Graham, this was done. The commodore went to Saratoga. 
I communicated to him the day when the papers were to be 
made. He directed me to call at his office, which I did, and 
when I entered, his clerk, Mr. Wardell, said, ' Doctor, here is 
a package containing fifty thousand dollars of money from 
Commodore Vanderbilt for you.' 

" ' " I said to him, ' Do you know what this fifty thousand 
dollars is for? ' ' No, sir, I don't.' ' Didn't the commodore 
tell you?' 'No, sir.' 'Shall I give you a receipt?' 'No, 
sir.' 'Why don't you take a receipt?' 'The commodore 
didn't tell me to take one.' 

" '" And that is the way I got the Church of the Strangers. 
I desired to have it put in charge of a body of trustees of 
prominent gentlemen selected from the principal churches in 
New York ; but the commodore refused to do so, saying, 
' No ; you hammer away at some of those fellows about 
their sins, and they will turn around and bedevil you so that 



214 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

you will have to quit the church. I am going to give it to 
you personally.' 

" ' " He subsequently made the deeds of settlement so that 
the pastor should have a life-estate in the property, and that 
at his death it should fall into the hands of the trustees of the 
Church of the Strangers appointed according to law. And 
thus we got the church. 

" ' " He lived seven years after that, and never by deed or 
word or look did he make me feel that he felt that I was under 
obUgation to him. On the contrary, from that day forth he 
always treated me as one gentleman treats another who has 
done him a very great favor. It was done in a princely style, 
and I do beheve God paid him and his family a thousandfold 
in many ways." ' 

" The events just narrated took place during the summer of 
1870. The pastor at once set to work making the necessary 
repairs. As for several years the congregation which had been 
occupying the building had been expecting to make some ar- 
rangement for removal, the property was neglected and very 
much had to be done. Ten thousand dollars should have 
been expended upon it, but the pastor ventured only half that 
amount and supervised all the repairs. He had so Httle 
trained his people to work, having had nothing for them to 
work upon, that he was compelled to do nearly the whole of 
this alone while continuing his ministration in the little chapel. 
Not an officer of the church visited the premises during the 
repairs. When all was done he went to his friend, Commo- 
dore Vanderbilt, and told him that the repairs were all finished 
and that service would be held on the first Sunday of the next 
month, October, and that it had cost five thousand dollars to 
make the repairs. The commodore said, ' Well, doctor, how 
are you going to pay for it? ' The reply was, ' I do not know, 
sir;' for the doctor thought probably the commodore would 
assume the debt. Instead of doing so he said, ' Neither do I.' 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 215 

It afterward transpired that the commodore did this to try the 
pastor's ' pluck ' and further to satisfy himself that his confi- 
dence in the doctor's ability was not misplaced. The pastor 
arose, saying, ' But I will pay it, commodore,' and left. He 
went immediately down into Wall Street, and through a friend, 
Mr. Charles W. Keep, borrowed the money on his own per- 
sonal credit, and paid for all the material used and all the 
work done in repairing the building. This load he bore for 
some time before he could obtain enough, above what was 
necessary annually for the running of the church, to liquidate 
the debt, but it was finally accomplished. 

" On Sunday, the 28th of August, the Sunday-school had 
taken possession of its department in the chapel, under the 
superintendency of Mr. William J. Woodward. The building 
which the Church of the Strangers was now to occupy is of 
historical interest. When that portion of the city was almost 
in the country, and a number of members of the old Brick 
Church,* which was then under the pastorate of Dr. Gardiner 
Spring, separated themselves in order to build a new up-town 
church, they selected this spot. To that congregation and to 
the old St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Bowery almost all 
the principal families of the city belonged. To the new Pres- 
byterian church the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Skinner, as we have 
seen, was called as its first pastor. 

"The great revival services under the Rev. Dr. Kirk in 
1839-40 had taken place within those walls. In what is now 
the pastor's study, in the chapel facing on Greene Street, were 
heard the first classes of the Union Theological Seminary, 
which now has a noble residence at No. 1200 Park Avenue. 
All the commencements of the theological seminary were held 
here until 1871. In what is now the parlor of the church 
there was a Sunday-school, in which men and women who 

* This church occupied the block now covered by the Potter and Times 

buildings. 



216 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

have since distinguished themselves in church work, in literd^ 
ture, and in the department of teaching received their train- 
ing. 

" We are indebted to Mr. R. R. McBurney, secretary of 
the Young Men's Christian Association in this city, for the 
following facts : 

" ' On the evening of May 28, 1852, a meeting was held in 
the lecture-room of what is now the Church of the Strangers, 
which had been called by a few young men, members of 
evangelical churches in this city, who had previously on sev- 
eral occasions met together to consider the propriety of form- 
ing a Young Men's Christian Association. About three hun- 
dred young men assembled at that time, who manifested a 
deep interest in the subject ; and it became evident that such 
an association might be formed with every prospect of useful- 
ness. 

" ' The chair was occupied by the Rev, G. T. Bedell, D.D., 
then rector of the Church of the Ascension, Tenth Street and 
Fifth Avenue, now Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, who 
expressed a fervent interest in the cause. 

" ' The Rev. C. J. Warren also took part in the exercises, 
and an admirable address was delivered by the late Rev. Isaac 
Ferris, D.D., then pastor of the Market Street Reformed 
Dutch Church, which embodied a lucid exhibition of the na- 
ture and the probable benefits of the proposed organization. 

" ' After the address, the names of one hundred and seventy- 
three young men were enrolled as members, J. W. Benedict, 
Esq., acting as chairman. 

"'At several successive meetings, held in the same place, 
the proposed constitution was brought forward, and after being 
fully discussed was finally adopted in nearly its present shape. 

"'On the evening of the 30th of June, 1852, the associa- 
tion was permanently organized by the election of its officers. 

" ' From the pulpit of the church was delivered the first an- 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 217 

nual sermon before the Young Men's Christian Association, 
by the Rev. Dr. Ferris, who was afterward chancellor of the 
University of the City of New York.' 

"the opening 

" On Sunday, October 2, 1870, the Church of the Strangers 
was duly opened. The following account of the opening ex- 
ercises is taken from the three programs issued during the days 
of their continuance : 

"Sunday, October 2, 1870 

"Morning, 10:30 o'clock. Singing the long-meter dox- 
ology, ' Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,' etc. The 
first morning lesson. The hymn, ' I love thy kingdom, Lord,' 
No. 2>2> of ' Hymns for all Christians.' The creed. Prayer, 
by Joseph Holdich, D.D., American Bible Society. The sec- 
ond morning lesson. 

" HYMN WRITTEN FOR THE OCCASION BY PHCEBE GARY 

" ' Come down, O Lord, and with us live! 
For here, with tender, earnest call, 
The gospel thou didst freely give 
We freely offer unto all. 

" ' Come with such power and saving grace 
That we shall cry, with one accord, 
" How sweet and awful is this place, 
This sacred temple of the Lord!" 



«( ( 



Let friend and stranger, one in thee. 
Feel with such power thy Spirit move 

That every man's own speech shall be 
The sweet eternal speech of love. 

' ' Yea, fill us with the Holy Ghost ; 

Let burning hearts and tongues be given ; 
Make this a day of Pentecost, 

A foretaste of the bliss of heaven ! ' 



218 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" Sermon, by Robert S. Moran, D.D., Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South. Address, by Abel Stevens, D.D., LL.D., 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

" At the conclusion of the morning service the pastor in his 
address, among other things, returned thanks for the many at- 
tentions the church had received from its friends, and alluded 
to the motto in the flowers on the communion-table, 'All for 
Jesus,' and said that should now be the motto of the Church 
of the Strangers. 

"Afternoon, 2:30 o'clock. Baptism of infants. 3:00 
o'clock. The holy communion, conducted by the pastor, 
assisted by Thomas H. Skinner, LL.D., George L. Prentiss, 
D.D., pastor of the Chiu-ch of the Covenant, Robert R. Booth, 
D.D., pastor of the University Place Presbyterian Church 
(these three gentlemen having been pastors of the Mercer 
Street Church) ; Gardiner Spring, LL.D. ; William B. Sprague, 
D.D. ; John P. Durbin (one of the secretaries of the Metho- 
dist Missionary Society) ; A. C. Wedekind, D.D., pastor of St. 
James's (Lutheran) ; Rev. R. Koenig, of Pest, Hungary; and 
other clergymen. 

"Evening, 7:30 o'clock. Prayer, by Philip Schaff, D.D,, 
professor in Union Theological Seminary. Sermon, by John 
Cotton Smith, D.D., rector of the Church of the Ascension 
(Protestant Episcopal). Address, by Mancius C. Hutton, D.D., 
pastor of the Washington Square Reformed (Dutch) Church. 

" At the conclusion of the evening service Dr. Deems read 
the following stanzas, which had been sent him during the day : 

" •' ALL FOR JESUS * 

" ' Written for the Church of the Strangers by Mrs. M. A. Kidder 

'•' ' This holy, peaceful Sabbath day 
We bow our inmost hearts and pray 
To thee, O Jesus! 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 21 9 

And while we give afresh to thee 
This Christian church, so broad, so free, 
Our voices and our hearts agree, 
'Tis all for Jesus ! 

" ' This structure with its rocky bands, 
This holy temple as it stands, 

Was built for Jesus! 
The very floor beneath our feet, 
The walls that catch the echoes sweet. 
This pulpit, aye, and every seat, 

Belong to Jesus! 

" ' The strangers' church! the world's wide home 
Where all, yea all, may freely come 

And learn of Jesus! 
The rich, the poor, the grave and gay. 
The lonely wanderers by the way, 
May hear God's Word and sing and pray 

To blessed Jesus! 

" ' O generous heart, that gave so much! 
O open hands, whose gentle touch 

Was seen by Jesus! 
O sisters kind and brothers true, 
O loving friends in every pew, 
Whate'er we've done, whate'er we do, 

Is all for Jesus!' 

" Monday Evening, October ^d 

" T.30 o'clock. Public meeting. Rev. Chancellor Ferris 
presided. Vice-presidents: Gorham D. Abbott, LL.D., Wil- 
liam H. Alexander, Albert T. Bledsoe, LL.D., Nathan Bishop, 
LL.D., A. T. Briggs, Theophilus P. Brouwer, William C. 
Churchill, A.M., George W. Clarke, Ph.D., Charles C. Colgate, 
Peter Cooper, Lyman Denison, Cornelius R. Disosway, Hon. 
William E. Dodge, Thomas C. Doremus, Daniel Drew, John 
EUiott, Hon. William M. Evarts, Richard C. Gardner, James 
Lorimer Graham, Hon. WiUiam F. Havemeyer, Thomas A. 



220 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Hoyt, Edward S. Jaffray, Morris K. Jesup, John H. Keyser, 
Dr. Jared Linsly, R. R. McBurney, Belden Noble, Ex-Gover- 
nor Olden of New Jersey, John W. Quincy, John A. Stew- 
art, Algernon S. Sullivan, Ex-Governor Throop of New York, 
John F. Trow, John Elliott Ward, Horace Webster, LL.D., 
A. R. Wetmore, Stewart L. Woodford. 

" Prayer, by George R. Crooks, D.D,, editor of the ' Meth- 
odist.' 

"The meeting was a profoundly interesting one. Dr. 
Deems gave a history of the rise and progress of the Church 
of the Strangers, and of the work proposed to be accomplished. 
He was followed by the Rev. Mr. Koenig, pastor of a similar 
church in Pest, Hungary ; and by the Hon. WiUiam E. Dodge 
in a most happy address of indorsement and congratulation ; 
and by Dr. S. Irenaeus Prime, of the New York ' Observer,' 
in a most touching and beautiful speech. 

" Tuesday, October \th 

"The Rev. Dr. Armitage, of the Fifth Avenue Baptist 
Church, preached a most impressive sermon. 

'^Friday Evening, October ith 

"7:30 o'clock. Public temperance meeting, under the 
direction of the Fidelity Temple of Honor. The Grand 
Worthy Chief Templar, Calvin E. Reach, of Rensselaer 
County, presided. Prayer by the Rev. Stephen Merritt, Jr., 
chaplain of Fidehty Temple. Addresses by Templar William 
S. Stevenson, the Rev. C. F. Deems, D.D., and Hon. B. E. 
Hale, of Kings County. Sacred and temperance songs by a 
young lady. 

" Sunday, October ()th 

" Morning, 10:20 o'clock. Prayer, by Thomas C. De Witt, 
D.D., Collegiate Reformed Church. Sermon, by William E. 



SETTLING IN NEW YORK 221 

Munsey, D.D., Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Address, 
by the Rev. George J. Mingins, superintendent of city mis- 
sions. 

"Afternoon, 2:30 o'clock. Baptism of adults. 3:00 
o'clock. Sunday-school concert, conducted by Philip Phillips. 
The address by William H. C. Price, Esq., former superinten- 
dent of the school. 

"Evening, 7:30 o'clock. Sermon, by Leonard Bacon, 
D.D., Congregational. Address, by the pastor." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS, 1870 

THE Church of the Strangers, now thoroughly rooted, and 
with " All for Jesus " for its motto, promptly won not only 
a local, but also a national, even an international, reputation. 
It was the supreme achievement of Dr. Deems's hfe, and is 
worthy the thoughtful study of a'l who are interested in the 
church of Christ and the salvation of society. 

As already stated, the Apostles' Creed is the symbol of the 
faith of the church. The Advisory Council, made up of 
seven men, has charge of all spiritual interests ; the receiving, 
dismissing, and disciplining of members, and other spiritual 
matters, being in their hands. They are elected annually at 
the December monthly meeting, being nominated at that 
meeting by the pastor. The members of this council and the 
superintendent of the Sunday-school are nominated by the 
pastor, because they are his assistants in his spiritual work. 
Should the monthly meeting fail to elect a nominee for mem- 
bership in the Advisory Council, the pastor makes another 
nomination. All other church officers are nominated by the 
members of the congregation. The secular and general inter- 
ests of the church are controlled by a monthly meeting of the 
church, which elects annually in December a president, vice- 
president, and clerk of the monthly meeting. Nine trustees 
have charge of the finances, three being elected annually. 

222 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 223 

The trustees conduct their business through a committee of 
their members : the president, the treasurer, and the financial 
secretary, together with two other trustees. This committee 
is called the Board of Finance. 

From the inception of this unique church no pew has ever 
been rented. All pews and sittings are always free for all 
worshipers. Funds have been raised by the envelope system 
of weekly subscriptions, and by the plate collections, which 
have ever been very generous. The finances of the Church 
of the Strangers are managed with the most businesslike sys- 
tem, accuracy, and energy. 

One of the best features of the church is the Committee on 
Hospitality, a board of ushers, young men carefully selected 
and especially instructed to make every stranger feel perfectly 
at home. 

The ritual of the church in its simplicity departs from the 
ordinary form of service in the non-liturgical churches chiefly 
in the use of the Apostles' Creed by the congregation after 
the first hymn of the morning service. A volunteer chorus 
choir, trained and led by Professor George W. Pettit, leads 
the congregational singing, which is unusually fine, the hymn- 
book used being " Hymns for all Christians," prepared by 
Phoebe Cary and Dr. Deems. The prayers of Dr. Deems in 
his pulpit will never be forgotten. They impressed the hearer 
with the thought that the pastor knew all the experiences of 
every heart before him, and was vividly impressed himself by 
the presence, power, and love of the Deity whom he devoutly 
addressed as the hearer and answerer of prayer. 

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered on the 
first Sunday of every month, when new members who have 
been admitted to the sealing ordinances of baptism and the 
Lord's Supper are welcomed by the officers and members of 
the church. The communion and baptismal rituals are prac- 
tically the same as those of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 



224 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

the members of the Advisory Council first partaking of the 
elements while seated at a long communion-table, and then 
assisting the pastor in the distribution of the bread and wine 
to the people, who are seated in alternate pews. It is a re- 
markable fact that no communion season, excepting one, has 
ever passed without at least one new member to be welcomed. 
Generally there have been more. 

Infants are baptized on the third and adults on the fourth 
Sunday of the month. Under the pulpit platform is a bap- 
tistery which is used for those whose consciences call for bap- 
tism by immersion, while in front of the pulpit stands the font 
from which babes are baptized, and those adults who do not 
ask for immersion. Dr. Deems's theory was that the mode of 
baptism was a matter for settlement by the candidate, his part 
being the application of water in the name of the blessed Trinity. 

Besides the regular Sunday morning and evening services 
held in the church proper, a stone building with a square tower 
in the fa9ade, a laborious and fruitful Sunday-school is held in 
the chapel, a two-story brick building fronting on Greene Street 
(which at its northern end is called Winthrop Place), the chapel 
being No. 4. Dr. Deems made it a rule to visit the Sunday- 
school every Sunday morning and offer prayer, also frequently 
speaking. This part of the church, equipped as it has ever 
Ibeen with a primary, intermediate, and Bible-class department, 
lias been, and is, one of the brightest and most fruitful sections 
'of the hfe and work of the Church of the Strangers. In 1883 
a Chinese Sunday-school was organized, and is held every Sun- 
day afternoon at 2 : 30, a most gratifying evidence of the mis- 
sionary life of the church. 

At 6:45 P.M. every Sunday, under the auspices of the 
young men of the church, a vesper service is held preparatory 
to the regular evening service. It is held in the church par- 
lor, a large room under the Sunday-school room, on the ground 
floor of the chapel building, in >vhicb i§ also held the regular 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 225 

church prayer-meeting every Friday evening, a mothers* meet- 
ing every Wednesday afternoon following the first Sunday of 
the month, and a church sociable every Wednesday evening 
following the first Sunday of the month. 

The Friday evening church prayer-meeting is in charge of 
a committee, who provide leaders and topics, except for the 
Friday evening preceding the communion, when the pastor 
leads a service preparatory to the Lord's Supper. It is an in- 
teresting custom of the Church of the Strangers to take up a 
collection at every meeting, of every sort, held in the chapel 
on Wednesday evening. 

Three organizations, besides those already mentioned, carry 
on the work of the church: the Sisters of the Stranger, the 
Missionary Society, and the Young People's Society of Chris- 
tian Endeavor. 

Recognizing that in a city of a million and a half people 
there must always be a large number of strangers in sickness 
or some other distress, and recognizing the value of woman's 
work in the church, Dr. Deems, in January, 1869, organized 
the Sisters of the Stranger, whose object is to aid worthy 
strangers in distress in New York City. 

The office of this society is in the northeastern corner of the 
church parlor, where the secretary is to be found at her desk 
daily from 3 to 5 p.m., to receive, pass judgment upon, and 
respond to appHcations for help. God, who so signally blessed 
every work of his servant's hand, had provided for the work 
of the secretary of the sisters an ideal woman. 

Gifted with an acute mind and a wise and tender heart, 
Miss Cecile Sturtevant accepted the position of secretary at 
the founding of the sisterhood, and for five and twenty years 
she was at her post of duty with exemplary regularity, devotion, 
and constancy. She was deeply attached to her pastor, and 
not only with her pen helped him in his large correspondence 
and the care of his parish books, but also, by adding to his her 



226 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

judgment and knowledge of people and of details of church 
life, assisted him in carrying successfully the heavy load of his 
widely extended and peculiar parish. Sister Cecile was to Dr. 
Deems as a daughter. She survived him less than a year, and 
was buried from the old church on Friday, August ii, 1894. 
To the few older members then present this seemed to be next 
to the last act in the life-history of this unique, useful, and 
beneficent movement. 

The Sisters of the Stranger is still alive and bearing fruit, 
Mrs. Sara Keables Hunt being secretary, and Miss Rena 
Sturtevant, a worthy sister of the late Miss Cecile Sturtevant, 
being treasurer. 

Mrs. S. M. Blake was the first president of this society, and 
Mrs. Charles F. Deems has been the only other president. To 
give an idea of the fruitfulness of the Sisters of the Stranger 
we quote the following paragraphs from Mr. Joseph S. Taylor's 
" History of the Church of the Strangers " : 

" From the beginning of their work and covering a period 
of seventeen years, the sisters have disbursed $23,446.11. 
They have helped 8415 persons, and through them and their 
famihes many other persons. Of the 8415 recorded, 43 11 
have been Americans and 4104 foreigners. 

"Throughout all the years of the sisters' work the Church 
of the Strangers has intrusted to them the disbursement of the 
communion offertory for the poor. The claims of needy 
members of the church having first consideration, the balance, 
if any, has been allowed to go to the general work of the so- 
ciety. Whenever the offertory fell short of what was required 
by church-members, the sisters have made up the deficiency 
from their fund. The disposition made of this money is re- 
ported to the Advisory Council." 

The Dorcas Committee, who meet every Thursday after- 
noon to cut and sew garments, are a good right arm of the sis- 
ters, during the first fifteen years of their labors distributing 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 227 

thirty-eight hundred new garments and cast-off clothing val- 
ued at four thousand dollars. 

In the memories of those who knew the noble work of the 
sisters will ever be associated the name of Mrs. Frank A. 
Vanderbilt, the wife of the first Cornelius Vanderbilt. She 
was for years the first directress of the sisters. When, on 
May 4, 1885, her death came in the prime of a superb Chris- 
tian hfe, a writer in the " Christian Worker" said of her: 

" The papers have announced the death of this ' elect lady.' 
All over the land she has scattered her benedictions— to 
public institutions, private charities, missions, schools, orphans, 
widows, aged clergymen, and people in almost every kind of 
straitness in mind, body, and estate. She was known to the 
whole Church of the Strangers, to whom she fulfilled the 
prophecy, ' Queens shall be their nursing mothers.' The Sis- 
ters of the Stranger lose an honored and beloved directress. 
Her last words to her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Deems, were uttered 
brokenly with failing breath: 'I am— going — 7iot trhwiphant 
— but — trusting.' Let that be the motto of the bereaved sis- 
terhood : ' Not triumphant, but trusting.' " 

The Missionary Society was organized in the Sunday-school 
early in the history of the church ; but when the church grew 
stronger, in January, 1878, the scope of this society was en- 
larged and it became an honored and useful church organi- 
zation. The payment, in advance, of one dollar per annum 
makes a member, and the payment of five dollars at one time 
makes a life-member, while the payment of twenty-five dollars 
constitutes the donor a patron. The pastor is the president, 
the superintendent of the Sunday-school is the vice-president, 
and the executive committee is made up of six women and six 
men, who select a secretary and treasurer from their own num- 
ber. The Chinese Sunday-school, the Gospel Mission, and the 
Young People's Society are represented on the executive com- 
mittee. 



228 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

A quarterly missionary prayer-meeting was inaugurated in 

1884, and this Missionary Society has made itself felt all over 
the world, in both home and foreign mission fields of various 
denominations. In addition to regular contributions to Miss 
Whately's English school at Cairo, Egypt, to the Anglo-Chi- 
nese University at Shanghai, China, and to Bishop Gobat's 
Memorial School on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, the Missionary 
Society have rendered substantial aid to the Syrian Protestant 
College, Beirut, Syria ; Bethany Institute, for training women 
to become missionaries ; the McAll Mission, in France ; the 
Seamen's Friend Society (eight libraries for United States Life- 
saving Service), the New York Medical Mission, the Tombs 
Mission, the Hebrew Christian Church, the East Side Chapel, 
and many other home and foreign fields. No pastor ever real- 
ized more keenly than Dr. Deems that a church without the 
spirit of missions is a church without Christ, a spiritually selfish 
and dead thing. 

One of the fruits of the spirit of missions in the Church of 
the Strangers is the Gospel Mission, at the corner of South 
Fifth Avenue and Bleecker Street. This work was commenced 
at the corner of Wooster and Bleecker streets on June 18, 

1885, having originated in the heart and mind of Mr. Edgar 
W. Russell, then a member of the Church of the Strangers, 
now a pastor in the Presbyterian Church. In planting and 
rooting this noble work in a part of the city whose most strik- 
ing features are poverty, filth, and vice, Mr. Russell had the 
hearty cooperation of his pastor and the substantial aid of the 
Missionary Society. 

Youthful and buoyant in spirits to the end of his life, ft al- 
most goes without saying that Dr. Deems from the beginning 
of his work in New York loved and was loved by his young 
people ; and he kept them actively employed in Christian 
work in various ways, but the Young People's Society of 
Christian Endeavor was not organized until January, 1886. 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 229 

Since that time it has been one of the most efficient arms of the 
Church of the Strangers. It is organized along the general 
lines of the model Young People's Society of Christian En- 
deavor, but shows slight differences in minor matters. 

With about six hundred resident members working privately 
and through the organizations just sketched, the Church of the 
Strangers has been an interesting spiritual landmark in New 
York City and a great spiritual power during the past quarter 
of a century. Its eminent success has been due to a num- 
ber of contributing causes : its attractive name, its undenom- 
inational character (there being on its roll at the time of Dr. 
Deems's death members from sixteen denominations), its large 
numbers, its splendid organization, and its homelike and well- 
appointed buildings. 

But all who have known well the Church of the Strangers 
attribute its splendid success, next to the divine power work- 
ing through it, to its gifted pastor, Dr. Deems. He was a 
man of pronounced and original personality. In the pulpit 
he was wondrously eloquent as an orator, in his pastoral work 
he was indefatigable, and without apparent effort was equally 
at home with the pauper and the millionaire, with the scholar 
and the unlearned. Affectionate with his people in their 
homes, he was yet perfectly free from hypocritical cordiality. 
Naturally a leader, his executive qualities had received thor- 
ough training while he was engaged in his various educational 
undertakings, and were used at their best in organizing and 
carrying forward the work of the Church of the Strangers. 
Above all, in character he was manly, spiritually minded, 
earnest, and honest. 

But we shall at this point quote the testimony of others than 
his sons, as given in a chapter in "A Romance of Provi- 
dence " entitled " ' How ' and ' Why.' " In order to help the 
readers of his " History of the Church of the Strangers " to 
understand the secret of its growth and power, Mr. Taylor, in 



230 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

1887, addressed to various members of the church the follow- 
ing formula : 

" Please write out an account of how and why you came to 
join the Church of the Strangers. Make it as long or as short 
as you please, and write in a familiar style. No names will 
be published." 

The following are selections from the replies received. One 
gentleman, a jeweler, said he liked the church: "(i) On ac- 
count of its simple service ; (2) because Dr. Deems preached 
Jesus Christ without an ' ism ' ; (3) because I loved the singing 
of the orphan children." * A young man testified : " I was 
convinced [by Dr. Deems] of my duty to join some Christian 
body, and in making a selection, if one thing more than another 
influenced me outside of the personality of the pastor, which 
I think is always one of the first considerations, it was the un- 
sectarian principle on which the church is founded." The 
father of this young man wrote : " I Hked the preaching." 
Another, a widow, wrote : " It was the hojne feeling which 
pervaded our church. . . . When myself and daughter pre- 
sented ourselves as candidates for admission to the Church of 
the Strangers, and Dr. Deems said to me, ' And what led you 
and your daughter to come to us?' I could truly say, 'The 
fact, sir, that we have found a home!'" From a trustee: 
" We concluded to follow this crowd. We were led into a 
church. Opening one of the hymn-books which I found in 
the pew, I discovered that we were in the Church of the 
Strangers. I said at once, 'Why, this is the church for us; 
we are strangers.' I have been a regular attendant of the 
church from that day to this;" that is, for fifteen years. A 
business man says : " I first heard Dr. Deems preach in the 

* For many years, until its removal from West Tenth Street far up- 
town, the Protestant Half-Orphan Asylum worshiped every Sunday 
morning at the Church of the Strangers, almost filling the galleries, and 
singing during the offertory. 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 231 

Hedding Methodist Episcopal Church, East Seventeenth 
Street. I was so much pleased with him that I determined to 
attend whatever church he might be called to in this city." 
An artist says: ' I came to New York in 1870. One Sunday 
morning my attention was attracted by a placard reading ' The 
Church of the Strangers ' at the entrance to the university 
building. That appeal made me think. I was a 'stranger,' 
and I concluded this must be my church. I stepped inside 
and heard Dr. Deems for the first time. I have not yet re- 
covered from the powerful effects of that sermon." From a 
publisher: " I knew all the truths of the gospel by heart, and 
the most brilliant sermon had no effect unless I felt sure the 
preacher himself was genuinely in earnest. From what source 
I hardly know, I got the conviction that Dr. Deems was a 
truly good and earnest man. I went to hear him, and a ser- 
mon of his on the Fifty-first Psalm, in which he brought out 
very forcibly David's desire for purity as well as pardon, was 
really the deciding point in my life. I did not wait long be- 
fore I joined the church. I shall always feel for Dr. Deems 
the respect and affection of a son." 

A professional man and an ex- Romanist, after graphically 
describing his spiritual ignorance, his heart-hunger, the heart- 
lessness of the formality of the church in which he had been 
reared, and the spiritually destructive effects of the fashion- 
able churches he turned to, says: "At this time my dear 
wife insisted on my going to hear Dr. Deems preach. I went, 
and with a slight variation of Ceesar's phrase I was obliged to 
say, ' I came, I saw, and was conquered ! ' I found in Dr. 
Deems an earnestness in expounding the gospel which I had 
never heard before, and the more I heard him the more I re- 
gained my faith. The horizon of the dark and turbulent sea 
on which I was drifting, ready to give up hope, became clear 
and bright. The inner man underwent a metamorphosis. I 
began to feel that some sincerity, after all, remained in this 



232 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

world. I found in the discourses all the logic and rhetoric I 
wanted, sufficient clearness to enable me to know what the 
Master wants me to do, and, above all, an earnestness which 
convinced me that the preacher was intent on saving my 
soul." 

Here let it be noted how the grand secret of his great 
success in his sacred caUing lay in the fact that his talents 
were sanctified ; that above, below, behind, and all through 
his learning, his gifts for oratory, his cogent logic, his brilliant 
rhetoric, and, in one word, his intellectuality, were his sincerity, 
his earnestness, his spirituality, and his intentness on saving 
souls. Blessed indeed is that minister of God who subordi- 
nates and consecrates all his powers to this one end of saving 
souls! From a young woman: "By his gentle and Christian 
conduct and conversation he so wrought upon me that I re- 
turned the same night to my situation " (she was a governess, 
friendless and a stranger), " and soon after I began to attend 
preaching services in the Church of the Strangers. One day 
I was in great trouble, having just received word that my sis- 
ter — the only support besides myself of a poor old widowed 
mother in distant Ireland — was dangerously ill. I went out 
into Washington Square. As I sat there I saw Dr. Deems 
passing. Instinctively feeling that from him would come 
sympathy and help, I rose and met him, saying, 'Doctor, I 
have a sister who is dying; will you pray for her? ' His re- 
ply was, ' God bless you, my daughter ; I will. Let us pray 
now.' And raising his hat, he then and there breathed a silent 
prayer for my sister. Afterward I announced my name and 
explained the circumstances of the case. And this is Jww I 
came to the Church of the Strangers. In answer to the ques- 
tion why I joined, I can only say, because ' I was a stranger, 
and ye took me in.' " 

A former member of the Advisory Council of the church 
says ; " I looked in the newspapers, and my weakness was ac- 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 233 

commodated by this announcement : ' Church of the Strangers ; 
strangers welcome ; all seats free.' Now I had been a stranger 
in New York over ten years, and so far as the invitation went, 
that was the church for me. I went there on the first Sunday 
in January, 1871. There was nothing there that I could find 
fault with!" (He had explained that he was a Scotchman.) 
" The rich and the poor were treated alike. The preacher 
had wit without flippancy, and boldness and originality with- 
out irreverence. He hurt my pride a little, but I forgave him ; 
for I knew it was only a random shot and he could not pos- 
sibly know me." (Not "a random shot," my good brother; 
he knew somebody like you and was aiming at him. He al- 
ways preached from his own pulpit at some particular person 
in his audience ; hence the one invariable directness of his 
aim and the penetrative quality of his messages. When 
preaching to a strange audience he preached at himself. 
Somebody was always hit. He wasted no ammunition shoot- 
ing in the air with both eyes shut.) " I was attracted. I 
went every Sunday." Six months thereafter this gentleman 
gave his heart to God. His whole, candid, and self-searching 
confession was summed up in his own words : " I had thought 
myself a philosopher. I saw that I had wrestled like a fool. 
I had boasted : 

' I shall never follow blindly where my reason cannot go ; 
I shall know by reason only all that mortals need to know.' 

Overwhelmed with a sense of my unworthiness and unfitness, 
I reluctantly went to see Dr. Deems. I had never spoken to 
him, and by way of introduction I sent him a letter and after- 
ward called upon him. I expected to have my sinful heart 
cauterized with theological caustic and had braced myself up 
for the operation ; but instead of pain he gave me pleasure, 
instead of humiliation he gave me sympathy— 'the oil of joy 
for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.' 



234 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

With faith small as a grain of mustard-seed I was admitted to 
the church on the first Sunday in July, 187 1." 

Yes, he was a gentle and skilful surgeon for moral hurts, a 
wise physician for spiritual ailments, a true disciple of the 
divine Healer of souls. Equally apt was he to deal with the 
forlorn loneliness of a poor friendless girl or the intellectual 
pride and stubbornness of a rebellious and controversial dis- 
putant. These few brief extracts, taken and condensed from 
those published in the history of the church, will, we trust, 
give the reader some additional knowledge about, and some 
deeper insight into, the personality of Dr. Deems. They will 
also show how his church grew up around him, and how and 
why, first and last, more than 1475 persons came to be en- 
rolled in the church-membership. But who shall gather up 
the records and compute the untold good done to those 
unknown thousands who once or twice or oftener have just 
dropped into the Church of the Strangers to hear him preach 
— those who were just passing through the great city or were 
making their annual visits to purchase merchandise? No one 
will, for no one can. But they carried away with them to 
every part of our great land the spiritual blessings which they 
had received through him. Death may silence forever the 
golden tongue of eloquence,— and such was his, — but the 
echoes of this devout and faithful minister of Christ and him 
crucified will go on sounding in their ears and keeping them 
true to our most holy faith and transforming their Hves ; and 
they will pass on by word and by deed, to the world about 
them and to their children and their children's children, that 
blessed and imperishable influence ; so that God only knows 
how many blessings he has bestowed through his faithful and 
consecrated servant, disciple, and messenger. Verily, such a 
life is worth hving and worthy of being perpetuated in mem- 
ory for an example to us all who knew him and to those who 
shall come after us. Past all words of thankfulness do the 



THE CHURCH OF THE STRANGERS 235 

writers of this memoir confess their gratitude to their heavenly 
Father for the gift of such an earthly father, and the very 
natural, if mistaken, regret that they are so inadequate to the 
fulfilment of the attempt to fitly portray the character, the 
work, and the influence of the venerated father whose presence 
is still so vividly and constantly with them. 



CHAPTER IX 

LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY, 1 867-7 1 

HAVING taken a general survey of the Church of the 
Strangers, we may turn back and take up the story of 
Dr. Deems's life in its more personal bearings and in its other 
relations. 

In the spring of 1867 he rented the cozy little frame house, 
No. 221 West Thirty-fourth Street, where for one year he and 
his family, after years of unrest and the discomforts of board- 
ing-house life, once more tasted the sweets of a home. His 
journal shows that ill health annoyed him frequently during 
1866 and 1867; but his indomitable will and the gratifying 
growth of his church were more than an offset to these trials 
of the flesh. 

On Saturday, September 7th, the first number of " Every 
Month " appeared, a neat four-paged periodical, edited and 
published by Mr. S. T. Taylor, and designed to be the organ 
of the Church of the Strangers. Each number of the paper 
furnished information about the church and contained a ser- 
mon by Dr. Deems, which had been taken down by a reporter. 

During the closing months of this year Dr. Deems added 
to his labors and widened his influence by visiting and doing 
evangelistic work every Monday afternoon among the pris- 
oners at the Tombs, or city prison, on Center Street. 

236 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 237 



Extracts from Dr. Deems' s Tombs Journal 

"September i6th. Last week as I was passing the Tombs 
the words came so distinctly to my memory, ' I was in prison, 
and ye came unto me.' At once my other errand was post- 
poned, and I said, ' Yes, Lord ; the prisoner shall have frater- 
nal greetings this day from me for that word of thine.' And 
so I entered, and after talking to some men who were behind 
the grates I went to the boys' prison ; and then I saw the ma- 
tron of the female prison and talked separately with some of 
her charge. 

" While speaking with one of the women in a corridor at the 
door of her cell an inmate of another of the cells recognized 
my voice and came out with much shamefacedness. She had 
been a servant in the house in which I had boarded, and it 
seemed like a godsend to her that one who knew her should 
have come into the prison. She made an ex-parte statement 
of her case. She had been committed for grand larceny. It 
seemed to me that her fault was not quite so deep as that, 
although she had manifestly done a wrong. It was right to 
promise that I should do what I could for her ; which prom- 
ise was afterward kept, as will subsequently appear. 

"This gave me a somewhat favorable introduction to the 
inhabitants of the Tombs, and I promised to conduct divine 
service for them on Mondays at two o'clock. 

" In accordance with that engagement the first service was 
held to-day in the httle chapel of what is called the ' female 
prison.' What a sight! There were old women and young 
girls, whites and negroes ; some abashed and evidently hiding 
their faces through shame, others brazen ; some frivolous and 
careless, and others stony, hard, or sullen ; some neat and tidy, 
others slatternly, dirty, and barefooted. After making a very 
few general remarks in as pleasant a way and in as non-cleri- 



238 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

cal a manner as was proper, but in a tone which, as it is now 
recollected, conveyed the idea that, while cant is not plea- 
sant, there is to be special acknowledgment of God's presence 
when we worship, I invited the women to join me in singing 
a familiar hymn. About as large a proportion complied with 
this request as is usual in our fashionable congregations ; that 
is to say, very few. 

" It was my first address to prisoners. How it was to be 
done successfully was a question. To assume that they were 
guilty of the charges made against them would be doing gross 
injustice to some, as there are always some who are innocent. 
In any case, it would seem to be taking sides with the strong 
against the weak, the free against the captive, the prosperous 
wicked against the unfortunate wicked. So I endeavored as 
much as in me lay to think and feel as the blessed Teacher 
must have thought and felt in the midst of sinners. 

" But I could not bring myself to this standard as the 
thought occurred to me that I was a fellow-sinner with these 
women — not sinning in their ways, not breaking society's laws, 
but, alas! breaking God's laws. 

" And so I fell into a strain of talk much hke the following : 

" ' I have been requested to render weekly service in your 
chapel and to assist others who are laboring for the good of 
your souls. Before beginning it seems to me necessary that 
we have some understanding. If it is expected that I am 
to ride down-town every Monday from my residence to the 
Tombs and remove my gloves and patronizingly proceed to 
give bad women some moral advice in a gentlemanly manner, 
I sha'n't do it: Eyes twinkled, and glances were exchanged, 
and some whispers, which were interpreted to mean, ' Old fel- 
low, you would lose your time if you did.' ' Nor will I hector 
you, nor lecture you, nor harangue you, nor talk to you as 
though you were much worse than the elegant ladies who sit 
in the pews of my church on Sunday, or as though I were 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 239 

better than you. You shall not be prejudged. I'll tell you 
how it is : all I know against you is that you are in the Tombs, 
and the most innocent person might be here, whereas, alas! 
my own heart is known to me, and that humbles me. Look 
at me, women ; do I look like an honest man that would not 
deceive you?' They inspected me a moment, and two or 
three nodded their heads as though they thought I was pass- 
ably honest. 

" ' Well, here we are, sinful mortals together, not knowing 
one another's names, met to worship God. In worship we 
pray. The best prayer the world knows is that which was 
taught it by Jesus. The foundation of all religion is in the 
first two words, " Our Father." That believed, everything 
else follows. Without that all theology, orthodoxy, and wor- 
ship are nothing. Before we unite in repeating that prayer, 
let us see what it means and whether we believe it. If you 
repeat it without lying unto God— and I beseech you, do not 
utter hes upon your knees — you believe three things, namely : 
(i) That God is your Father — not your Creator, your Ruler, 
your Judge ; he is all these, but in prayer you claim the higher, 
tenderer relationship of Father. Do you believe that? God 
chose to have us born instead of made, that there might be 
fathers and mothers and children, that we might understand 
this relationship. There sits a woman holding her little sick 
child so closely and tenderly. I appeal to her. God is nearer 
kin to her than she to that baby. The babe is flesh of her 
flesh, but she is spirit of God's spirit. She is the mother of 
her infant's body; God is the father and mother of her soul. 
Drop all hard thoughts of God.' Here I stated some of these. 
' They are all wrong. " God is my Father " answers all the 
riddles of my life. Do you beheve that God \?, your Father? 
(2) If you are going to repeat the prayer with me and say 
"our," you must believe that God is my Father. And then 
follows this : (3) You and I are close kindred ; you are my 



240 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

sister, I am your brother. Society would put us far apart ; 
prayer brings us close together. We may have wandered in 
our ways very far from the Father and far from one another ; 
in this prayer we clasp hands. 

" ' O my sisters, I steadfastly believe all these things in my 
very heart, and desire as many as wish to believe it to come 
with me to the Father's mercy-seat.' 

" This is an outline of about twenty minutes' talk, and many 
seemed melted and not a few joined in the prayer. At the 
close several came and made a kind of confession and ex- 
pressed a desire to reform, and some seemed only solicitous 
to obtain help to escape conviction, and some seemed totally 
careless." 

Dr. Deems wrought also among the boys and men, becom- 
ing deeply interested in and following up several cases. Few 
things in his life better illustrate his tenderness of heart and 
versatility of mind than his work in the Tombs prison and his 
account thereof. 

Early in 1 868 his aged father, the Rev. George W. Deems, 
visited him for the last time. No fihal affection and thought- 
fulness for a father's interests could surpass that which Dr. 
Deems at this time entertained and exhibited toward his re- 
vered father. 

It was while he was preaching in the large chapel of the 
university, and in January, 1868, that the poet sisters Alice 
and Phoebe Gary first heard Dr. Deems. They became mem- 
bers of his congregation ; he was a constant visitor at their 
home at No. 52 East Twentieth Street, and they were often 
welcomed by his family circle. At a regular weekly meeting of 
congenial literati at the Gary home Dr. Deems became ac- 
quainted with Horace Greeley, the Rev. Dr. Bellows, and other 
distinguished people, between some of whom and himself there 
grew up the warmest friendship. 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 241 

In his journal for February 29, 1868, he underscores this 
entry : " To-night my son, Francis Melville Deems, was grad- 
uated to the degree of M.D. by Bellevue Hospital Medical 
College. Commencement in the Academy of Music. Splen- 
did audience." His journal for this year reveals the fact that, 
busy as he was, he was a large part of the time not physically 
well. 

The greatest literary effort of his life was commenced by 
Dr. Deems in the fall of 1868. In the Mercantile Library, 
on Astor Place, he was given an alcove in which he wrought 
four hours a day on his life of Jesus. It would appear that 
for a long time he had contemplated writing a hfe of our Lord 
from a point of view not taken by others who had dealt with 
this sacred theme. Of this work we shall have more to say 
farther on, only remarking at this point that for the ensuing 
three years he put the best of his time, heart, brains, and toil 
into this labor of love, for Jesus was always to him an intensely 
real and beloved person. 

About a month after commencing this work Dr. Deems and 
Miss Phoebe Cary began their joint labors on their collection 
of hymns, which was published early in 1869 with the title, 
" Hymns for all Christians." It contains three hundred sa- 
cred poems : one hundred hymns, one hundred spiritual songs, 
and one hundred lyrics. The poet Whittier said that all that 
are worthy to be called " hymns " are in this collection ; and 
reviewing the book at the time of its publication, the late 
venerable Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, author of "Annals of 
the American Pulpit," wrote : 

" I have had the pleasure of examining the new collection 
of hymns compiled by the Rev. Dr. Deems and Miss Phoebe 
Cary, entitled ' Hymns for all Christians,' and have been highly 
gratified by the excellent taste and judgment, as well as the 
truly devout spirit, displayed in this selection. It adds much 
to the interest of the work that a brief account of the authors 



242 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

of most of the hymns is prefixed to some one of their respec- 
tive productions. I cannot doubt that the book will be cor- 
dially welcomed by all evangelical Christians as a very impor- 
tant addition to our devotional literature." 

" Hymns for all Christians " has been used in the Sunday 
services by the Church of the Strangers ever since its publica- 
tion. Its preparation, as the reader can readily imagine, was 
congenial work for the gifted compilers, and was thoroughly 
enjoyed by them both. 

We learn from his journal that Dr. Deems, in addition to 
his other labors, was, during this and the subsequent years of 
his life, increasingly in demand as a lecturer. The subjects of 
his more popular lectures being: "Husbands and Wives"; 
"Proverbs— Not Solomon's"; "Trifles"; "Unnatural Cul- 
ture " ; "A Plea for the Money-makers " ; and " Ethics and 
Poetry of Trade Life." As a lecturer he enchained the at- 
tention of his audiences by his wit, wisdom, originality, and 
eloquence. 

Among his published thoughts few have had a warmer wel- 
come than his Christmas sermon preached in 1868, and ap- 
pearing as a neat booklet entitled " No Room for Jesus." 

Frojn His Journal 

" Thursday, December 31,1 868. Another year going out- 
going out with me, amid hard work and ten thousand blessings." 

The year 1869 was a laborious but happy and significant 
year for Dr. Deems. A few extracts from his diary will give 
the reader hints as to his work and experiences at this time. 

" March 4th. Went to Washington [from Baltimore, where 
he had been attending conference] and witnessed the inaugura- 
tion of General Grant as President of the United States. Great 
crowds. 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 243 

" March 21st, After night sermon a telegram that my bro- 
ther George is dead." 

" March 22d. Went to Baltimore. Spent the evening with 
my poor father, who is in grief for George." 

" March 23d. My half-brother, George W. Deems, buried 
to-day in a vault in Landowne Park Cemetery, Baltimore. The 
Rev. Mr. Williams, of Bethany Church, performed the cere- 
mony." 

" March 24th. Went with George Day and found the grave 
of my mother. Have not stood by it in thirty-four years. Am 
to have the remains removed." 

" March 31st. Dr. Gardner and myself looking up lots for 
a church." 

" May 3d. Entered on the use of Room 45, Bible House. 
The Sisters of the Stranger are to take it, and my study will 
be there." 

" May I oth. The Pacific Railroad completed to-day'^ 

" May 18th. In the afternoon organizing the Sisters of the 
Stranger." 

"June 15th. Went to Boston [where he attended the great 
Peace Jubilee, or musical festival, projected by Gilmore, and 
heard sublime vocal and instrumental music, including the 
singing of Parepa-Rosa]." 

" September 5th. The largest congregation in the morning 
I have ever had. Am enthusiastic." 

"October 2 1 St. Worked all the morning at the book. In the 
afternoon read an hour to Ahce Gary. Spent the evening with 
Commodore and Mrs. Vanderbilt." 

" December 31st. May God have mercy upon me and for- 
give all the shortcomings of this year gone. Another year to 
answer for! Another year to be grateful for! " 

The entries in his journal during 1870 are brief, but sugges- 
tive. There are frequent references to his work on his book, 
"Jesus." 



244 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

"April 1 8th. At night called to see Alice Gary, who seems 
to be sinking. She kept me busy singing the hymns of her 
childhood: 'Oh, how happy are they!' 'Jesus, lover of my 
soul!'" 

" June 9th. Returned from Baltimore. Have been watch- 
ing by my father. It was feared he would not be able to sur- 
vive until I reached him ; but he has grown better." 

"June 24th. To-day Commodore Vanderbilt authorized 
me to agree to give fifty thousand dollars for the Mercer Street 
Church. Laus Deo .' " 

"July 3d. While at the supper-table at Mr. James Lorimer 
Graham's a telegram came announcing that my father was 
dead. Preached a short sermon and took the train for Balti- 
more. Father died to-day at half-past one." 

"July 5th. Father buried to-day. The Rev. Dr. Huston 
and the Rev. Dr. Thomas B. Sargent made addresses. Father 
was interred in Mount Olivet Cemetery." 

" September 25th. At the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion to meet the foreign delegates to the Evangelical Alliance." 

" Sunday, October 2d. Church of the Strangers reopened 
in the Mercer Street Church." 

" October 7th. At the Evangelical Alliance heard Bicker- 
steth, of ' Yesterday, To-day, and Forever.' Spoke to him. A 
kindly man." 

" October i6th. My first sermon in the new Church of the 
Strangers." 

Dr. Deems wrote quite complete autobiographical notes 
for the year 187 1, the following extracts being the most in- 
teresting : 

" On the 9th of January I left New York and went to 
Wilmington, N. C, to perform the marriage rite for a dear 
friend. This journey enabled me to visit my friends in places 
where I had formerly been pastor, in Goldsboro, Duplin 
County, and Wilmington. It so happened that the quarterly 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 245 

meeting of the Front Street Methodist Church was held on the 
following Sunday, and so I had an opportunity of preaching 
to many of my old friends. On the i8th I lectured in Golds- 
boro, spent a day in Baltimore, and on Saturday, the 21st, find 
this record in my journal : ' Returned to New York and the 
Russian baths.' 

"The following extract from my monthly report to my 
church will show what lay on my heart at this period of my 
work: 

" ' My indebtedness for the repairs now stands at $3135.08, 
being only $167 less than last month, of which $100 was col- 
lected by Mr. James E. Halsey. If I had any property to sell 
I would liquidate this debt at once ; but I have not. My 
policy of life-insurance is staked for it. I fear you think there 
is some one who will lift what you do not pay. There is no 
reason, let me assure you, for that supposition. If I live I 
must bear this burden and pay it off out of what savings the 
denial of my family can make. If I die the Church of the 
Strangers has a very good building, in capital repair, and my 
family are embarrassed. I regret to say this, but five months 
of burden-bearing have pressed it out of me.' 

" On the 4th of February I attended the funeral of the 
Rev. Dr. Skinner, the first pastor of the Presbyterian church 
that worshiped in the building we now occupy, and who died 
a distinguished professor in the Union Theological Seminary. 

" On the 7th of February of this year a remarkable circum- 
stance took place. An awful accident occurred on the Hud- 
son River Railroad near the town of New Hamburg, between 
Poughkeepsie and Fishkill. When the report of that accident 
came to the city it was told that my wife and myself were 
among the victims. The excitement created by it made quite 
an event in my history. It gave me weeks of answering letters 
and telegrams, and afforded me the curious sensation of enjoy- 
ing posthumous fame in some measure. 



246 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

"On Sunday, the 12th of February, I had a sore bereave- 
ment : my dear friend, AHce Gary, departed this hfe a few 
minutes before five o'clock. Her hfe had been to me a great 
comfort. Although more intimate with Phoebe, because her 
health was so much the stouter and she was more frequently 
at the church, my intercourse with Alice was always very 
pleasant ; and for weeks and months before her departure I 
had frequently visited her sick-room and endeavored to soothe 
and comfort her. She was a rare woman, large of physique 
but delicate of spirit, a woman of taste and culture and of 
purest religious sentiment. 

"On Tuesday, the 14th, she was btu^ied from our church. 
The service was appointed at one o'clock. A severe snow- 
storm, which fell all that day, prevented very many from com- 
ing, but the attendance was very large. The service opened 
with an organ voluntary from the ' Messiah,' followed by the 
anthem, ' Vital spark of heavenly flame.' I read the church 
service and delivered a brief address, which is thus reported in 
the next morning paper. 

" ' " I have not thought of a single word to say to you to- 
day, and I do not know that it is necessary to say one word 
more than is set down in the church service. Most of us knew 
and loved Ahce Gary, and to those who did not know her my 
words would fail in describing the sweetness and gentleness of 
her disposition and temper." The speaker then described the 
patience with which she had borne her last sickness, and told 
how he had been by her side when the pain was so intense that 
the prints of her finger-nails would be left in the palm of his 
hand as he was holding hers ; but she never made a complaint. 
" She was a parishioner," said he, " who came very close to 
my heart in her suffering and sorrow. I saw how good and 
true she was, and the interest she had in all the work I had in 
hand. 

" ' " And now she has gone from our mortal sight, but not 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 247 

from the eyes of our souls. She is gone from her pain, as she 

desired to die, in sleep, and after a deep slumber she has 

passed into the morning of immortality. The last time I saw 

her I took down her works and alighted on this passage, so 

full of consonance with the anthems just sung by the choir, and 

almost like a prophecy of the manner in which she passed 

away: 

<!<<<> jyjy gQ^j jg fyjj q{ whispered sorrows, 

My blindness is my sight ; 
The shadows that I feared so long 
Are all alive with light.' 

" ' " There was one thing in Alice Gary of which we would 
better remind ourselves now, because many of us are working 
people, and people who work very much with our brains ; and 
I see a number of young people who have come, out of ten- 
derness to her memory, to the church to-day ; and there may 
be among them literary people just commencing their career; 
and they say, ' Would I could write so beautifully and so easily 
as she did! ' It was not easily done. She did nothing easily, 
but in all this that we read she was an earnest worker ; she was 
faithful, painstaking, careful of improving herself, up to the 
last moment of her life. Yesterday I looked into the drawer, 
and the last piece of manuscript she wrote turned up, and I 
said to Phoebe, 'That is copied;' and she said, 'No, that is 
AHce's writing.' It was so exceedingly plain it looked like 
print in large type, though she wrote a very wretched hand. 
But her sister told me that when she came to be so weak that 
she could not write much any longer, she began to practise like 
a little girl to learn to form all her letters anew. She worked 
to the very last not only with the brains, but the fingers. 

" ' " When Phoebe wrote me last Sunday that she was alone 
and that Ahce was gone, I could not help telling my people, 
and there was a sob heard that went through the congregation. 
It was from an old lady, a friend of hers, who often told me 



248 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

about her and spoke of her nobility of soul. Alice Gary once 
thought of making a cap for her, and she said, ' I will make a 
cap for Mrs. Brown ;' but her fingers ached so and her arm be- 
came so tired she had to drop it ; and the needle is sticking in 
that unfinished cap now, just as she left it. She would have 
finished it, but they had finished her own crown in glory, and 
she could not stay away from her coronation. And we will keep 
that cap with care ; and I think Jesus will remind her of it and 
say, ' Child, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least, you did 
it unto me.' Should I speak for hours I could only tell you 
how I loved her. She came to me in the winter of my for- 
tunes, when I had very few friends, and I loved her and will 
revere her memory forever — forever." ' 

" On the following Thursday I delivered an address at the 
dinner of the alumni of Dickinson College, held at Delmonico's, 
and on the following day I lectured at Port Chester, N. Y., 
and made a very pleasant visit to Summerfield House, at that 
time occupied by the family of Mr. Blackstock, who had mar- 
ried one of Summerfield's sisters. A single sister was still hv- 
ing with them. I saw many mementos of the wonderful young 
preacher who had pronounced his benediction on my earliest 
life. 

"I find in my journal of Sunday, the 19th, the following 
entry : ' Commodore Vanderbilt and Daniel Drew sat in one 
pew.' I find also this entry on the Sunday following : ' Heard 
Dr. McCosh lecttu-e. (Memorandum. — Never hearMxm. again, 
but read him.)' 

" The 2d of April was the first Sunday that sickness kept me 
from my pulpit since I commenced to preach in New York. 
During that week I suffered very much from my old catarrhal 
affection, which in the South had given me such distress in my 
eyes and ears. 

" On the 20th of May my son, Dr. Frank M. Deems, left 
for Europe to pursue his studies in hospitals and colleges there. 



LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY 24d 

" On the 27th of June in this year I affiliated with Crescent 
Lodge, No. 402, Freemasons, meeting then in Union Square. 
For years I enjoyed the association of the members of this 
lodge, acting all the time as their chaplain, except one year, 
when they elected me Senior Warden. 

" In the summer of this year my family took board at a farm- 
house a mile and a half back from Eagle Rock on the Orange 
Mountain, in New Jersey. It was a simple, quiet, enjoyable 
place, not difficult of access, away from any place of fashion- 
able resort, where they lived in great quiet and had much en- 
joyment. Whenever it was practicable I spent a few days 
with them. 

"On the I St of August I heard of the death of Phoebe 
Gary. From the time of Alice's death she commenced to de- 
cline. Her health had been perfect ; she scarcely knew any- 
thing of aches and pains ; there was not a gray hair on her 
head ; but she aged, grew pale and wrinkled and gray ; every- 
thing lost power to interest her. A few Sundays after AHce 
died Phoebe was in church, and at the close of the service came 
to Mrs. Deems and said, ' I feel so lonely ; let me sit with you 
in your pew during church service.' She came into my study 
and laid her head upon my shoulder and wept violently. This 
was so utterly unlike her that it almost unmanned me. I had 
been accustomed in the weakness brought on by my severe 
struggles to look to Phoebe for reserves of strength. I cheered 
her as well as I could, visiting her in her sick-room before her 
removal to Newport, and by all playfulness and badinage and 
every method I could command endeavored to assuage her 
grief and divert her attention ; but it was a case of spiritual 
Siamese twinship : neither could survive the other. Their de- 
parture has left me in great loneliness ; they have been to me 
two sweet, good, helpful sisters. 

" The congregations of the church during the summer were 
very large. I had greatly feared that I should not be able to 



250 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

fill so large a church as that into which we had removed ; but 
week after week has given me a pleasant disappointment, and 
Sunday after Sunday of the summer and fall of this year the 
congregations filled every available portion of the church. 

"On the 26th of October I assisted at laying the corner- 
stone of the Franklin monument in Printing-house Square. 
On this occasion occurred a little incident which subsequently 
got into the papers and gave me a wide-spread reputation for 
punctuality. My watch had gone wrong and I had been de- 
layed by a slow street-car ; when I reached the Astor House I 
found I had but a minute and a half in which I must gain Mr. 
Greeley's office on the corner of Nassau and Spruce streets, and 
every approach seemed blocked. I forced my way as rapidly as 
I could up Nassau Street ; but the company were in waiting. It 
wanted just one minute to twelve ; the master of ceremonies 
said, ' We are all here except Dr. Deems, who is to offer the 
prayer.' Mr. Greeley said, ' He is a punctual man, but lives 
at some distance ; give him a few minutes.' Dr. Irenseus 
Prime, the editor of the New York ' Observer,' said, ' Gentle- 
men, if he is not here at the precise moment we may as well 
send for the coroner.' As he said that the City Hall clock 
commenced to strike twelve and I opened the door: twelve 
was the appointed hour. I did not understand Dr. Prime's 
quizzical look when he turned to the company and said, 
' Gentlemen, I told you so.' 

" In November I left for Charlotte, N. C, to attend the 
session of the conference there, and I returned to my home 
bearing many and pleasant reminiscences of my Southern trip. 

" My Christmas dinner was taken, with my whole family, at 
Commodore Vanderbilt's, and we had a most enjoyable time." 



CHAPTER X 

PASTOR AND AUTHOR, 1 872-76 

ON the last day of February, 1872, as we learn from Dr. 
Deems's journal, the first volume of his book, "Jesus," 
was on the publisher's counter. This was the consummation of 
three years of devoted toil, and is a monument to the scholar- 
ship, industry, genius, and spirituality of its author. In fact, 
it ranks as the greatest literary work of his hfe. It is a large 
octavo volume of over seven hundred pages, illustrated with an 
ideal head of Jesus after Guercino's " Ecce Homo," and sixty- 
five engravings on wood, drawn by the celebrated traveler-artist, 
A. L. Rawson. In the preface to the first edition Dr. Deems 
disclaimed the idea that he was writing a hfe of Christy and 
declared his work to be the facts in the life of the person 
Jesus. He closes the last chapter with this language : 

" Who is this Jesus? 

" I have told his story as simply and conscientiously as pos- 
sible, and have honestly endeavored to apprehend and to repre- 
sent the consciousness of Jesus at each moment of his career. 
The work of the historian is completed. Each reader has now 
the responsibility of saying who he is. All agree that he was 
a man. The finest intellects of eighteen centuries have be- 
lieved that he was the greatest and best man that ever lived. 
All who have so believed have become better men therefor. 
We have seen that he never performed an act or spoke a word 

251 



252 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

which would have been unbecoming in the Creator of the uni- 
verse if the Creator should ever clothe himself with human 
flesh. Millions of men — kings and poets and historians and 
philosophers and busy merchants and rude mechanics and 
purest women and simple children — have believed that he is 
God. And all who have devoutly believed this and hved by 
this as a truth have become exemplary for all that is beautiful 
in holiness. 

" What is he who can so live and so die as to produce such 
intellectual and moral results? 

" Reader, you must answer." 

The book received glowing encomiums from the press both 
in America and Europe. Professor Francis W. Upham, author 
of " The Wise Men " and " Thoughts on the Holy Gospels," 
said that he spent a winter of retirement in Europe in reading 
all the lives of Jesus that had ever been published in the English 
language, and that, in his opinion, the work by Dr. Deems 
outranks them all ; and the late Dr. Henry Smith, of the 
Union Theological Seminary, used to speak of Dr. Deems's 
volume "Jesus" as "that great book." 

This undertaking brought to completion, he turned his atten- 
tion more closely to his church work, raising an endowment 
fund whose interest should annually pay to the Sailors* Snug 
Harbor Association the rent for the ground on which the 
Church of the Strangers stands. 

Dr. Deems took no summer vacations. The name and 
nature of his work, and the temperament of the man, pre- 
cluded that indulgence. Yet he never censured his brother 
ministers who did take a season of rest in summer, although 
he always contended that there was something grievously 
wrong somewhere when multitudes of Christian pulpits in 
New York were silent at a season of the year when unusual 
numbers of visitors were in the city and Satan unusually active. 
Dr. Deems's friends believe that he shortened his life by his 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 253 

incessant toil. During 1872 his family again sought a retreat 
from the city on Orange Mountain, where they were visited 
between Sundays by the busy pastor, who ever brought glad- 
ness with him, and who entered into the out-of-door games and 
recreations with that zest and push which made him so suc- 
cessful in his serious undertakings. 

In the fall of 1872, at the Church of the Strangers, Dr. 
Deems married his elder daughter, Minnie, to Mr. Marion J. 
Verdery, of Augusta, Ga. Of another interesting incident of 
his life during the closing months of this year he thus writes 
in his journal under date of October 2 2d : " Spent the day on 
an excursion up the Hudson River with the English historian, 
Mr. Froude, and the philanthropist, Miss Emily Faithful. De- 
lightful time! At night was at Dr. John G. Holland's at a 
reception given to George MacDonald, the novehst. A great 
crowd. Called in at Crescent Lodge." 

Sometime during 1873 Dr. Deems was enabled to use his 
influence to assist in the founding of a noble institution of 
learning in the South. The next best thing to doing something 
great and praiseworthy one's self is to get somebody else who 
can to do it. Dr. Deems, as we have seen, was always deeply 
interested in the cause of education ; also he loved the South. 
He had won the complete confidence of the elder Cornehus 
Vanderbilt, and, aware that efforts were on foot to establish a 
college in Tennessee under the auspices of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, Dr. Deems contributed his full share to- 
ward the influences which lei Commodore Vanderbilt to found 
Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tenn. To this great in- 
stitution Mr. Vanderbilt gave one million dollars. 

It was in the spring of 1873 that Dr. Deems bought and 
moved into the house No. 429 West Twenty-second Street, 
where he continued to reside for fifteen years. At last he was 
able to have that which up to this time his soul had yearned 
for in vain, a comfortable and permanent home. It is true 



254 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

that it was over a mile from his church, but this fact he con- 
sidered an advantage, as it would make his home a retreat. 
His study was in the church, where he attended to all his 
business. The house was kept as free as possible from all re- 
minders of his regular work, that it might afford him an asylum 
from his flood of cares. With all the intensity of his nature 
he enjoyed his home and his family while living on Twenty- 
second Street. 

It would be impossible to tell what Dr. Deems was in his 
home in more truthful or more eloquent language than that 
used by his son-in-law, Mr. Marion J. Verdery, when, in the 
closing address at Dr. Deems's funeral, in 1893, he said, among 
other things : 

" Out in the busy world, where he spent so much of his life, 
he was the incarnation of activity and industry. Dashing at 
work with an energy suggestive of mihtary genius, he accom- 
plished more in a day than many men do in a week. Work 
was not second but first nature to him. I do not believe he 
ever wilfully wasted an hour in his life. He counted time by 
seconds, and contended that every tick of a man's watch 
meant a breath of his life, and therefore was precious. This 
marvelous energy, illumined by the highest order of intellec- 
tuahty, and directed by a spirit wholly consecrated to the ser- 
vice of God, inspired his life of vast usefulness and made Dr. 
Deems the great and good man that he was. Thus you all 
knew him out in the world! 

" At home, oh, what a sweet privilege to have known him 
there! I cannot trust myself to talk much about it. Words 
seem too harsh to wrap our tenderest thoughts in. If I could 
show you through my heart's eyes a thousand pictures that 
hang on memory's wall, and let them be my hearthstone 
tribute, love would be content with the offering, and the sweet- 
ness of home be idealized. 

" He never came in from work too tired to be tender. He 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 255 

never became so engrossed by his interest in outside affairs 
that he lost relish for domestic affiliations. His wit was never 
so dulled by use in public places that it ceased to sparkle in the 
family circle. His humor did not exhaust itself in great crowds 
with the hope of applause ; he made his rarest fun and told 
his best stories at the fireside. 

" When serious he delighted to fold us all in his abiding love 
and enrich us with his blessings. When joyous he suffused the 
whole house wath the sunshine of his soul and made his glad- 
ness contagious. 

" With his grandchildren he was playfellow, even after he 
wrote ' My Septuagint ' ; with his children he was always boon 
companion ; and to his sweetheart bride of fifty years he was 
courdy knight and loyal lover down to their golden wedding-day. 

" His whole life was a love-letter to mankind, with its sweet- 
est, tenderest, and hohest passages dedicated to his family." 

At this time Dr. Deems was hving in the fullness of his 
physical, intellectual, and spiritual vigor. Much as he loved 
his home, he almost literally lived the last twenty years of his 
hfe in public. Few men in New York were doing as many 
different things, and doing them as well, as he. We need not 
tax the reader with details ; much must be left unsaid ; but the 
language of the Apostle Paul was applicable to Dr. Deems, 
" in labors more abundant." Nothing, however, was allowed 
to detract from his distinctive work for Christ and souls. At 
the February communion in 1874 as many persons were added 
to the Church of the Strangers as composed the whole congre- 
gation when the pastor preached his first sermon in the chapel 
of the university. The names of over five hundred communi- 
cants were on the chiu^ch roll. 

For the first time in his New York pastorate Dr. Deems, 
yielding to the demands of his overtaxed body and mind 
and the urgent advice of his church and family, on January 5, 
1875, went to Florida, where he spent four weeks with con- 



256 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

genial people and under the restful influences of the balmy air 
and historic and romantic associations of old St. Augustine. 

On his return from the South his people gave him a royal 
welcome in the church, which was decorated and thronged with 
people. The Rev. Dr. R. S. Moran, who had supplied the 
pulpit in Dr. Deems's absence, made the address of welcome 
in a most happy strain. One who was present says : 

" The response of Dr. Deems was equally felicitous. He 
commenced by saying, ' I am glad I am home.' (Applause.) 
A voice in the audience exclaimed, ' So are we! ' This brought 
down the house. The doctor then proceeded somewhat in the 
following terms : ' It is really worth going away to be so wel- 
comed back. If I had known that it was so good a thing to 
be so received I should have gone oftener. But perhaps if I 
had my reception would have been less enthusiastic. I knew 
you were to meet me to-night, but such a demonstration of 
affection surely had not entered my mind. This really looks 
like a wedding scene, and I feel as if I were a party to a bridal 
with the dear Church of the Strangers. 

" ' It is not the least element in the pleasure to-night that 
these nuptials should have for officiating priest my excellent 
friend, the Rev. Dr. Moran. One of the many ways in which 
you have shown me kindness is that quick manner you have 
of immediately taking any friend of mine to be your friend ; 
and it is very gratifying to me that you have so keenly appre- 
ciated the admirable and devoted services of my dear brother 
in my absence. But never did I hear officiating parson talk 
to any party as Dr. Moran has talked to me. I do not know 
how to be equal with him. But now and here I give him 
warning that if ever a good providence afford me an opportu- 
nity of marrying him to a church or to a woman, I will pay him 
with interest.' (Applause.) 

" Dr. Deems continued : ' It is not needful that I tell you 
that I love this church. Our relations are peculiar. Perhaps 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 257 

nothing similar exists in this city. I did not come to you ; you 
did not call me. You had no organization. You did not offer 
me a salary and ask me to a church. You had no existence 
originally. I began to preach, and you came to me, each one, 
so that I know your church-membership from the beginning. 
You did not furnish me a church building. God's good provi- 
dence gave me the sweet privilege of doing that for you. 
This makes our relations peculiar. It makes the burden 
harder for me and gives me more need of love. It would be 
too bad to stay in this church without affection for the pastor, 
because you cannot send him away. 

" ' But sometime I shall go away to come back no more. 
I shall go to the Father's house. I shall go before many of 
you. I am older than a majority of the members of this church. 
As I have stood at the door of this church and welcomed you, 
until the little church has grown to be one of the greatest con- 
gregations in the city, so may I stand beside the Saviour at the 
gates when you enter after me, and to each have the blessed 
privilege of exclaiming, in the words of the legend which you 
have spread in evergreens across the chapel to-night, " Wel- 
come home, welcome home! " ' 

" After another song by the children the pastor was con- 
ducted to the Sunday-school room, whither he was followed 
by the people, all eager to clasp his hand. This room was also 
hung with evergreens and garnished with flowers. 

" To render the entertainment more social, a bountiful colla- 
tion was provided, and words of cheer were exchanged between 
sips of fragrant coffee. All were happy. Hand-shaking and 
good-wishing were general." 

On Monday, October 4, 1875, Dr. Deems delivered the 
opening address at the dedication and inauguration of Vander- 
bilt University, commenting upon which the Nashville " Ameri- 
can " said at the time : 

" Probably no one feature incident to the inauguration of 



258 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Vanderbilt University attracted more attention than the mas- 
terly address delivered by the Rev. Dr. Deems, of New York, 
a full report of which is published elsewhere. Elaborate in 
conception and detail, it treats of the subjects discussed in a 
way to claim the closest attention throughout. The burden 
of the address bears on the relations between science and re- 
ligion, and many a subtle thrust is given by the learned speaker 
at those he aptly terms weak rehgionists and weak scientists. 
There is no real conflict, he contends, between science and 
religion. It is only guesses on both sides which collide, and 
the result is an explosion of bubbles, not bombs. We do not 
know of any more valuable contribution ta the current discus- 
sion on one of the profoundest of topics than the present 
address— a production which cannot fail to elicit the most 
favorable comment in all quarters and add no little to the al- 
ready great fame of its distinguished author." 

At the close of this address the speaker was handed a tele- 
gram from the generous founder of the university, which he 
read to the audience : " Peace and good will to all men." 
With characteristic aptness and impressiveness. Dr. Deems 
turned, and, looking toward a full-length portrait of the com- 
modore, with deep feeling replied, " ' Cornelius, thy prayer is 
heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of 
God.' " The dramatic interest of this scene can be imagined 
better than described. Dr. Deems ever took a profound and 
practical interest in Vanderbilt University, where, on the occa- 
sions of his subsequent visits, he was uniformly given a most 
hearty welcome. 

From His Journal 

" December 4th [1875]. This is my fifty-fifth birthday. I 
have finished another year. I reconsecrate myself to the work 
of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, greatly humbled at 
the little I have already accomplished." ^ 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 259 

To the North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, which met at Wilmington, Decem- 
ber I, 1875, Dr. Deems sent the following letter: 

" Church of the Strangers, 
" New York, November 29, 1875. 
" To Bishop McTyeire. 

" Rev. and dear Brother : Thirty-four years ago I be- 
came a member of the North Carolina Conference. In the 
more than a third of a century which has elapsed, until last 
year I never missed a session and never failed to be present 
at the opening, except in a solitary instance, when I was un- 
avoidably detained on the road. During that time I have 
served the conference and the church as circuit-rider, stationed 
preacher, presiding elder, professor, secretary of the conference, 
delegate to the General Conference, and president of the An- 
nual Conference. I have never asked for any office, appoint- 
ment, or accommodation, but have gone, at any pecuniary, 
personal, and domestic sacrifice, wherever and whenever sent. 

" In the providence of God, without my own seeking, I am 
the pastor of the Church of the Strangers, an evangelical in- 
dependent church in this city. The history of my connection 
with it is well known to many. I came to New York in 1865 
to attend to certain Southern interests, supporting myself and 
family by literary labor while engaged in the effort. On ac- 
count of the prejudices naturally engendered by the then recent 
Civil War that project failed, and I was ready to return to 
North Carohna or accept the presidency of a Southern college 
then tendered me. The bishops of the Southern Methodist 
Church unanimously recommended me to stay in New York 
and take care of a congregation which had begun to gather 
around me, composed mostly of strangers of different denomi- 
nations. That recommendation was communicated to me by 
Bishop Pierce, and you, Bishop McTyeire, wrote me, as it 



2G0 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

were, prophetically, ' You went to New York for one purpose : 
our God is keeping you there for another.' The congregation 
grew and consolidated into a church, and every month that 
church has grown, until now it is regarded by many as one of 
the most important centers of religious influence in America. 
The Southern Methodist Church has appointed me to this 
pastorate from year to year, and the Church of the Strangers, 
although it is independent and a great majority of the members 
have never been Methodists, has not been unwilling to receive 
me under that appointment. 

" For several reasons I have not sought to make any altera- 
tion in my ecclesiastical status. I am not given to change, but 
cling to old friends and old associations. Moreover, a num- 
ber of leading laymen and ministers of the Southern Methodist 
Church have urged me to continue my membership therein. 
Furthermore, I supposed it was the unanimous wish of the 
bishops that I should remain ; and I was doing a work which 
honored the church and brought no burden to it. Since I 
have been pastor here I have not drawn one dollar, so far as 
I know, from the Southern Methodist Church, or any member 
thereof, for the support of the Church of the Strangers, while 
my pastorate in this church — I write what is notorious — has 
been the providential occasion of thousands upon thousands 
of dollars being sent not only to Southern Methodists and their 
institutions, but also to other evangelical churches in the South. 

" Perhaps it was in view of all these things that the General 
Conference of 1870 passed a resolution covering any case like 
mine that might arise. That resolution was rescinded by the 
General Conference in 1874 and another in a modified form 
was adopted. I have this to say : that I had nothing to do, 
by request, suggestion, or otherwise, with any of these proceed- 
ings ; I have never desired any action to be taken by the An- 
nual or General Conference exceptionally in my favor. 

" Notwithstanding all this, there are members of the North 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 261 

Carolina Conference who seem to believe that I ought to 
abandon the Church of the Strangers or withdraw from the 
conference. Their agitation of the case subjects me to the 
constant annoyance of being misapprehended by good men 
and misrepresented by others. 

" I beheve I am as much called of God to the office of pas- 
tor of the Church of the Strangers as you can beheve that you 
are called to the office of bishop in the Southern Methodist 
Church. It seems to me that I should as much be leaving the 
lead of the Master in quitting my present work as you could 
think that you would be abandoning your line of duty by re- 
turning to your Annual Conference. 

" So long as I felt that the North Carolina Conference de- 
sired to retain me I made no motion to withdraw. In the 
membership of that conference I expected to close at once my 
ministry and my hfe. But I do not believe that the Master 
desires me to stand in a position in which I am made by others 
an occasion of concern to the authorities of the church, and 
of trouble to the brethren who love me, simply that I may in- 
dulge one of my sentiments, however excellent that sentiment 
may be. In view of all these things, through you I respect- 
fully ask the conference to grant me a location. I should have 
done this in person if the session of the conference had not 
fallen at a time when the temporal and spiritual interests of the 
church render my presence here more than usually needed. 

" This motion on my part is made without consultation with 
any member of the North Carohna Conference or any officers 
of the Church of the Strangers. It is done in the fear of God 
and in charity toward all my brethren of the North Carolina 
Conference. I love North Carolina. The most of my public 
ministry was in that State. All my children were born there. 
My two dead sons lie in its soil ; my first-bom, my young hero- 
martyr, sleeps in the cemetery in Wilmington. God has given 
me many spiritual children out of the population of North 



262 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Carolina. They will bear me witness that by the space of 
twenty-four years I preached the gospel from town to town and 
from house to house, coveting no man's silver or gold, but gen- 
erally partly and sometimes wholly maintaining myself, that I 
might serve the people in the ministry of the Word. I left the 
State no richer than I was when I entered it, except in 
memories and in friends. My clerical brethren will bear me 
witness that I have belonged to no cHque, have opposed no 
measure captiously, and set myself against no good man for 
his injury. At the same time I have not through self-seeking 
failed to oppose frankly every measure which I believed to be 
hurtful to the church and every man whom I regarded as an 
ecclesiastical demagogue. 

" It is a comfort to know that I have enjoyed the affection 
and confidence of the most able and beloved of the ministers, the 
Brocks, the Leighs, the Bumpasses, the Doubs, the Nicholsons, 
the Pells, the Reids, the Barringers, and others now in glory, 
as well as those living who deserve to be named in the same 
category. If, through want of thought on my part or any 
frailty of my temper or character, I have given a moment's 
pain to any brother, I most humbly beg that he will treat it as 
we all pray the Lord Jesus to treat all our sins. 

" And now, desiring this letter to be read in open conference, 
I pray that the Head of the church may pour upon you and 
all other officers, ministers, and members of the Southern 
Methodist Church the abundant blessing of his heavenly grace. 
Pray for me, that I may finish my course with joy and this 
ministry which I have received of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
" Affectionately and faithfully your brother, 

" Charles F. Deems." 

After fraternal remarks by Bishop H. N. McTyeire, the 
presiding bishop, and other members of the conference. Dr. 
Deems was by vote " located " at the Church of the Strangers 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 263 

in New York City, and a committee was appointed to draft 
appropriate resolutions. 

On the fifth day of the session the committee reported as 
follows, and their report was adopted : 

" Whereas, Dr. Deems, who has been for thirty-four years 
a member of the North Carolina Conference (believing it to 
be his duty), has asked for and has been granted a location ; 
and Whereas, He has been eminently useful and successful 
during his connection with our conference, in his eloquent 
pulpit ministrations, in his ardent work as a competent instruc- 
tor in our institutions of learning, and in wielding his vast in- 
fluence over the public mind to promote the cause of Christ ; 
therefore 

" Resolved^ That we can but deplore the act that severs him 
from us ; but as, in the providence of God, his lot is cast in a 
field of labor where we believe his brilliant talents and active 
energy will accomplish grander results for the good of souls, 
we acquiesce in his decision. 

"Resolved, That we duly appreciate his valuable services 
while among us, and pray that the benedictions of the great 
Head of the church may be upon him in his present important 
and inviting field of labor. 

" Respectfully submitted, 

" W. H. BOBBITT, 

"J. H. Wheeler, 
" Ira T. Wvche." 

Dr. Deems, by this action of the North Carolina Conference 
and by not uniting with any Quarterly Conference or church 
in the North, practically suffered his connection with the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to lapse, and technically 
was not a member of any church or denomination. Practically 
he was a member of the Chm"ch of the Strangers, somewhat 



264 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

as a pastor of a Congregational church is at the same time a 
member of that church. And now, however anomalous his 
ecclesiastical position might be and seem, it was in reality very 
clear and simple. He was left free to be the pastor of the 
Church of the Strangers as long as he pleased, and as such was 
responsible to God and to public opinion ; but answerable to 
no ecclesiastical body on earth except his own congregation, 
and to them he was responsible only to a limited extent. If 
his people did not like him or his doctrine they could argue the 
matter with him, and if that did not restore harmony they 
could leave him and the church, and he would have had empty 
seats. 

It was indeed an exceptional position which Dr. Deems 
held ; but the reader of the Preface of this volume will remem- 
ber that therein it was claimed that Dr. Deems's character and 
career were exceptional, and that fact was given as one of the 
reasons for the publication of this memoir. How well he dis- 
charged his peculiar duties and how little he abused his un- 
hmited power, let the history of that independent body of 
Christians answer. The concord that reigned among its het- 
erogeneous elements and the harmony of its practical work- 
ing are all tributes to and proofs of his ability, his rectitude, 
and his conscientious fidelity to Christ and the gospel. 

And this concord between pastor and people, and fruitful 
activity of both people and preacher, were kept up to the very 
end, as appears from Dr. Deems's report to the monthly meet- 
ing of the church held in December, 1892, the month near 
whose close he was stricken down. That report concludes as 
follows : 

"During the year I have delivered 184 discourses, admin- 
istered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper 1 1 times, celebrated 
the rite of matrimony 36 times, baptized 22 persons, attended 
the funerals of 19 persons, and paid 652 visits. During the 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 265 

year we have added 55 members; on confession of faith, 40, 
by letter, 15. 

" There have been received into the church during the past 
twenty-five years 1809 persons ; 940 on confession of faith and 
869 by letter. There have been taken from the roll by re- 
movals, death, etc., 1264. Total on roll at close of 1892, 545. 
" Affectionately and faithfully yoiu: pastor, 

" Charles F. Deems," 

Early in 1876, having to go to Richmond, Va., to lecture, 
and to Weldon, N. C, to dedicate a church, he went on farther 
South to the home of his daughter, Mrs. Marion J. Verdery, 
in Augusta, Ga. This entry is in his journal for Tuesday, the 
15 th of February : " With my dear daughter and her precious 
babe, whom I now see for the first time." He remained in 
Augusta eight days, and described the visit as " a little job of 
dry-nursing." He spent the most of the time with his new 
grandchild, who became an endeared pet. 

On the 2 2d he baptized his baby granddaughter and on the 
23d started for New York. Upon reaching home he found the 
Moody and Sankey meetings in full operation. Occasionally 
he took part in them, but he had so much pastoral work that 
he could not be a constant attendant. His estimate of these 
" evangelistic " exercises, as they were called, was not quite so 
high as that of some of the other New York clergy. He 
thought that in some directions they did good in stimulating 
the church-members, but that they did very Httle toward reach- 
ing " outsiders." He also thought that they had a dissipating 
effect upon the members of the church, creating in them rov- 
ing habits and making them so used to exxitement that it re- 
quired a long time after the evangelists left to bring these 
people into regular working order in their own churches. He 
did not, however, feel himself at liberty to utter any opposi- 
tion to the work. It might be of God and his judgment might 



266 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

be at fault, so he would not oppose it ; but he never entered 
into it very heartily. 

Before Dr. Deems went South Mr. Frank Leslie, the well- 
known publisher of a number of periodicals, had sent for him 
to consult him in regard to the pubhcation of a " Sunday 
Magazine " somewhat on the basis of an English periodical 
bearing that name, and with such modiiications as Dr. Deems's 
experience would give to it in adapting it especially to the 
American religious public. At first the proposition did not 
strike the doctor as desirable. Although he saw in it a vast 
field of constantly increasing usefulness, he was afraid that he 
should not be able to sustain the magazine and discharge his 
church duties in a befitting manner. Nevertheless he con- 
sented to take into consideration the proposition which Mr. 
Leslie made. 

He saw certain objections to undertaking this work, and 
others of more or less weight were suggested to him. But, on 
the other hand, he saw so many ways in which the " Sunday 
Magazine " might be used for the good of men and the glory 
of God that he finally concluded to take the post of its editor, 
but to take it on his own terms. These he proposed to Mr. 
Leslie, supposing them so stringent that that gentleman would 
perhaps retire. But he did not ; on the contrary, he gave the 
doctor the complete control, agreed to supply him all assis- 
tance needful to keep the periodical from interfering with his 
pastoral work, and also to improve the tone of his issues. In 
accordance with this the most offensive, because it was the 
most sensational, of Mr. LesHe's periodicals was drawn from 
his list of publications and suppressed. Improvements began 
to be made in every department, and Dr. Deems fell to work 
to prepare for the new " Sunday Magazine," which, owing to 
several causes, did not appear until the beginning of the next 
year, although the bargain had been made on the i6th of 
March, 1876. 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR '2.&1 

Commodore Vanderbilt had been growing feebler in health 
since the previous Thanksgiving day, when he took a cold 
while riding in Central Park. He had been only a few times to 
his office after that day. On the 2 2d of April Dr. Deems had 
a talk with the commodore in regard to the founding of some 
public institution in this city, which should be extended and 
continued in its beneficence, and thus be the consecration of 
a portion of his property to the Lord. The commodore re- 
quested Dr. Deems to draw up a plan for such an institution 
which should require at least a half-million of dollars. With 
his usual alertness, he at once fell to work, thinking over the 
plan on Saturday night and giving Monday and Tuesday 
to writing out a rough draft. The commodore had been con- 
fined to his house, but not to his bed, for some weeks. On 
Wednesday morning, April 26th, Dr. Deems had his plan ready, 
waited on his old friend with it, and found him in bed in great 
pain and not able to consider anything. His heart fell. He 
was afraid that it was too late. As the commodore had done 
so handsome a thing for the South, he was very anxious that 
he should do some very great act of beneficence which would 
make his name a precious savor also in the North. Nothing 
seemed to Dr. Deems so poetical and beautiful as that the 
commodore should erect, on some conspicuous and happy 
site, an institution to care for those who had become disabled 
in railroad service ; and yet there seemed to him almost insur- 
mountable difficulties in making this a diffusive benevolence. 

For more than eight months the commodore was confined 
to his bed, and from the 26th of April, 1876, to the 4th of 
January, 1877, Dr. Deems visited him every day except eight. 
Those eight days were divided between three visits to the 
country. The commodore would not let him leave his side, 
often keeping him for hours. His sufferings were prodigious, 
and Dr. Deems represented himself as being often thrown into 
profuse perspiration by simply witnessing the agony of the great 



268 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

sufferer. Through all those months the attachment between 
the two men increased. The pastor was devoted to his 
parishioner, and the parishioner grew more and more to love 
his pastor. Sometimes he would send for him, and when he 
arrived would say to him with tears, " Doctor, I have sent for 
you to tell you how I love you." In his funeral sermon and 
in other publications Dr. Deems has set forth his estimate of 
the character of Commodore Vanderbilt. The two men had 
the greatest possible regard for each other. 

All the summer long Dr. Deems remained in the city. He 
had several important engagements which he was compelled 
to cancel because of Commodore Vanderbilt's illness. One 
was to deliver an address at Emory and Henry College, 
Virginia, and another to repeat his lecture on " The Bible and 
Science " at the Chautauqua Assembly in the western part of 
New York. But he had learned to submit to what seemed to 
be the demands of Providence. 

Several times during this season it was supposed that Com- 
modore Vanderbilt would die, and yet he rallied marvelously. 
Just after one of these spells he insisted that Dr. Deems 
should go to the Centennial Exposition, which he did, spend- 
ing parts of three days in Philadelphia at the great exposition 
in company with Mrs. Deems and a few friends. 

On the 2 2d of October Dr. Deems was one of the pall- 
bearers at the funeral of his old preceptor, the Rev. Dr. Dur- 
bin, to whom he was much attached, and of whom he has 
spoken in his autobiographical sketch as one of his teachers at 
Dickinson College. 

On the ist of December he took part in the third anniver- 
sary of the First Reformed Episcopal Church, of which the 
Rev. Dr. Sabine was pastor. He had always taken a great 
interest in this new ecclesiastical movement, because he rec- 
ollected that he would have entered the ministry of the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church but for the dogma of apostolic sue- 



PASTOR AND AUTHOR 269 

cession. He was also interested in it because it had been set 
on foot by Bishop George D. Cummins, who had been his col- 
lege-mate and personal friend through many years. 

On the 4th of December he made this record in his journal : 
" Entered upon my fifty-seventh year." He was not given to 
recording sentimental reflections. He closed one year of his 
hfe and entered upon another with as much cheerfulness as 
though there were no end to life, and with such elasticity as if 
he had but one more year to work. 



CHAPTER XI 

INCREASING ACTIVITY, 1877-79 

" Oh, to be ready, ready. 

Yielding my Saviour my all, 
And waiting with loving patience 

For the Master's gracious call! 
Soothing the poor in their sorrow, 

Helping the rich in their woe, 
Seeking to find new treasures 

On suffering saints to bestow. 

" Oh, to be ready, ready. 

Hidden from every delight, 
And hearing no voices of praises. 

While toiling alone in the night! 
Lonely, unmourned, and forsaken. 

And cast from the hearts of all men, 
Walking the fiery furnace 

Or sleeping with beasts in their den. 

" Oh, to be ready, ready. 

Following the lead of my Lord, 
While armed with salvation's helmet 

And the Spirit's flaming sword! 
Meeting the foe with high courage 

And fighting the good fight of faith ; 
Shouting in triumph while dying, 

And soaring to life out of death." 

A GREAT snow wrapped the city in a thick white mantle 
on January i, 1877. From his journal we learn that on 
this date Dr. Deems received visitors most of the day, and that 

270 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 271 

he also " composed the hymn, ' Oh, to be ready! ' " He ap- 
pears to have felt the chill of death in the air. 

From His Journal 

" January 4th. Commodore Vanderbilt died this morning 
at 10:51." 

"January 7th, Sunday. Commodore Vanderbilt's obsequies 
at the Church of the Strangers." 

"January 8th. Oh, how lonely without the commodore!" 

On the day of Commodore Vanderbilt's death Dr. Deems 
reached the bedside of his dying friend at nine o'clock in the 
morning, where he found gathered the family and four physi- 
cians, and where he remained until the end. The commodore 
to the last was conscious and spoke to his loved ones calm 
words of parting. His wife's sister, Mrs. Robert L. Crawford, 
led the little group in singing his favorite hymns, " Nearer, 
my God, to thee," " Show pity. Lord," and " Come, ye sin- 
ners, poor and needy." With a bright countenance falteringly 
he joined in the singing. He asked Dr. Deems to pray, and 
tried to follow the prayer and repeat the benediction. At the 
close of the prayer he took Dr. Deems's hand and said, " That's 
a good prayer. I shall never give up trust in Jesus; how 
could I let that go!" At 10:51 a.m., peacefully and appa- 
rently painlessly, the commodore fell asleep. 

Sunday morning, January 7th, Dr. Deems conducted the 
funeral ser\aces for his faithful friend at the Church of the 
Strangers, whose capacity was unequal to holding the mul- 
titudes who sought entrance. In accordance with the ex- 
pressed wishes of Mr. Vanderbilt, these services were marked 
by simplicity. 

In the funeral address Dr. Deems said, among other things : 

" My brethren, it would seem to be a happy thing that the 



272 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

custom of the pastor of this church at funerals should be in 
such perfect accord with the explicit wishes of our deceased 
friend. It is almost never appropriate to speak about a dead 
man at his obsequies. No man would desire to allude to any 
of his human frailties and faults, and no man can make the 
dead man's friends love him more than they do when they 
surround his remains. And so when he charged that at his 
funeral not many words should be said, and that those words 
should be said deliberately, and that there should be no at- 
tempt to set forth any supposed virtue he might possess, the 
request was in accordance with my own feelings. . . . 

" I think it will be a soft pillow for my dying hour that I 
have one remembrance — which I may venture to state even 
here— of our beloved friend. One day he took my hand and 
looked me in the face ; the tears started to his eyes and he 
said, ' Dear doctor, you never crowded your religion on me, 
but you have been faithful to me.' ' Yes,' I said, ' commo- 
dore, I have held back nothing of the counsel of God which 
I thought needful to say to you for your salvation.' And 
shall I here, in the presence of this people and in the presence 
of his precious remains, fail to be faithful to his memory and 
to you? What gave him his comfort at last? That there was 
not a civilized nation on the face of the earth that did not 
know his name? That there was not a king or an emperor or 
other ruler of men upon earth that did not know his name? 
That the luster of his deeds shone like sunlight among the na- 
tions? What gave him his comfort at the last? That he could 
count up millions to be left to his children? No! It was 
this : that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, had tasted death 
for him ; that there was in the Godhead not simply his Creator, 
but his Redeemer, and that, coming as a little child, he could 
lay his head in the lap of Jesus and feel that he had a Saviour 
there. . . . 

"There were two things our beloved friend lacked. One 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 273 

was the advantages of early scholastic culture ; another was 
intimate religious associations through his middle life and the 
main part of his career ; and those two wants of his life, as he 
has solemnly said to me, were the only great regrets he had. 
But remember that, while Cornelius Vanderbilt had not the 
advantages of the schools, that great lack was compensated 
for in a large measure by the extraordinary intellectual endow- 
ments with which God had gifted him. And then, and above 
all, remember this : that what saved him was the fact that 
never in any part of his life did he for one single instant doubt 
that this sacred Book was the Word of God and the rule of 
faith and practice. That was his sheet-anchor, and his love 
for his mother was his sheet-cable. I must now say what he 
charged me to say if ever I spoke of him in public : ' Say to 
all men that you did not have the slightest influence in the 
world in persuading me to believe in the Bible ; that you could 
not, nor all the angels or ministers ; for I have never had a 
minute when I did not believe it was the Word of God, whether 
I kept it or not.' Have you that faith? If he had gone 
through life without that faith and come to this great battle, 
this eight months' campaign, fighting for hfe,— fighting on the 
outskirts, fighting in the intrenchments, fighting in the citadel 
to the last,— if he had come without that wonderful faith in 
the Word of God, who could have helped him? . . . 

" If one grain of love is worth ten thousand tons of admira- 
tion, then Cornelius Vanderbilt died rich. This I say as one 
who, with the sohcitude of a pastor and a friend, watched all 
his spiritual motions through the last year of his life, and say 
it as if he were alive and that lid were open and he had those 
eagle eyes turned on me : I will say I believe that this man at 
the last had true repentance toward God, had simple, child- 
like faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal and divine 
Saviour, and did yield himself to the operations of the Holy 
Ghost ; and that, having thus yielded, and in such repentance, 



274 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

in such faith, and in such submission died, we may confidently 
trust that he who is able to save to the uttermost did fulfil his 
promises to our beloved friend, and that he is numbered with 
the saints in glory everlasting. Let us not attach undue value 
to the things of this world, but let us not underrate ourselves. 
That man lying there never owned one single dime ; he never 
possessed one single foot of ground in his own right. He was 
bound to hold these things as a steward of God. That is the 
state of the case with us, and we must give an account at the 
last, as he has gone to render his account of his stewardship, 
to the only One who has a right to judge him, Jesus Christ 
our Lord." * 

Shadowed though its opening was for Dr. Deems, the year 
1877 was one full of labors in the pulpit, the pastorate, on the 
platform, and in the editor's chair as he wrought on the " Sun- 
day Magazine." Not the least interesting experiences of the 
year were his visits to the University of North Carolina, at 
Chapel Hill, and Randolph-Macon College, at Boydton, Va. 
These visits occurred in June. At the former he preached the 
baccalaureate sermon, on Acts xxvi. 25, while at the latter he 
dehvered the annual address before the two literary societies. 
On Thursday, June 7 th, the University of North Carolina 
conferred on Dr. Deems the honorary degree of LL.D., which 
he not unsuccessfully strove to wear with becoming grace and 
dignity. 

From His Journal 

"September 26th. Mrs. Deems finished reading 'Macau- 
lay's Life ' after prayer-meeting. What a fortunate and superb 
career! He died only two years older than I am now. How 
much more work of a certain kind he accomplished! Such 

* The whole of this address and Dr. Deems's prayer on tliis occasion 
may be found in the " Metropolitan Pulpit," vol. i., p. 65 (New York: 
Funk & \V agnails Co.). 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 275 

men make the rest of us seem small. It is so sad to close such a 
book ; we came to feel as if the man were our personal friend." 
" October 23d. Went to Asbury, N. J. Had not been there 
for thirty-two years. Married there. Mrs. Deems with me. 
Stayed with Mr. McElrath, who had been Horace Greeley's 
partner." 

A Letter frotn Dr. Deems 

"nolo episcopari 

" New York, February 14, 1878. 
" I^ev. J. J. Lafferty. 

" Dear Brother : In the ' Richmond Christian Advocate ' 
I see that Judge Simmons has mentioned my name in the 
' Central Methodist ' among the names of three persons who 
might, in his opinion, be elected bishops by the next General 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It is a 
gratifying compliment to be mentioned in such a connection, 
but, of course, I am out of the question. The providence of 
God seems to have assigned me my diocese. It fills my hands 
and head and heart and time. It is one in which I have 
probably been able to do more for all branches of the church 
than if I had been a bishop in any one of them. The Southern 
Methodist Church has been singularly happy in the choice of 
its chief pastors, all of whom are my personal friends ; and I 
trust that grace may be vouchsafed to save the General Con- 
ference from ever electing any man who, for selfish reasons, 
d2sires and seeks the ofhce. 

" Affectionately and faithfully yours, 

" Charles F. Deems." 

J^rovi His Autobiographical Notes for 1878 

" In February of this year I had a visit from Bishop Pierce, 
of Georgia, who had been invited to preach a sermon on the 



27G CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

anniversary of the leading Methodist church in Newark, N. J., 
in whose dedication he had taken part many years ago. I 
invited him to come to New York and remain with us as long 
as agreeable to himself. His health was poor. My family 
became very much attached to him, 

" On the 6th of March I took recess from labor and went 
South with Mrs. Deems. We stopped in Baltimore and were 
the guests of our beloved cousin, Mrs. Martha A. Flack. The 
Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, was in session. On Thursday I addressed the con- 
ference, and on Sunday, by the request of Bishop McTyeire, 
I preached the sermon at the ordination of the elders and as- 
sisted the bishop in the ordination of the deacons. Three days 
of the succeeding week were spent amid the hospitalities of 
our excellent friends, the Faisons, in North Carolina, and on 
Saturday, the i6th, we reached Charleston. Arriving early in 
the morning we found Bishop Wightman awaiting us. He 
had written insisting that I should be his guest. We remained 
until the following Tuesday, and by special request I preached 
in the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. We were very 
much interested in Charleston, and this was the first visit my 
wife had ever made to this noble old city. Bishop Wightman 
and Mr. George W. Williams and their wives were indefati- 
gable in showing us attentions. I was particularly interested 
in the orphanage, in the Home for Confederate Widows, and 
in the seminary for young ladies, of which Miss Kelly was 
principal. 

" From Charleston we went to Florida, spending most of 
the time in St. Augustine, where we met our dear friend, Mrs. 
Noble. There is not much to record of this quiet old town, 
which I had visited before. It is a most attractive place to 
me. It would be dehghtful if I could live there all winter. 
I have very little to record of this visitation. We went on 
the water and to all the surrounding places of interest, and 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 277 

filled up our leisure time with Miss Phelps's new book, ' Avis,' 
which I exceedingly disliked on account of its morale. 

" After St. Augustine we made the tour of the Oklawaha, 
whose wonderfully weird scenery by night was quite a novel 
enchantment. We had the misfortune to come upon the Silver 
Spring in a shower of rain ; but nevertheless it was a very in- 
teresting sight. On the 6th of April, on our return, we reached 
Augusta, where, with our daughter, her husband, and her pre- 
cious babe, we spent more than a week — a delightful week, in 
which the babe grew more and more into my heart. 

" On the 1 8th of April we reached New York, having spent 
a day with our friends in Goldsboro, N, C. On this trip I had 
preached in St. Paul's Methodist Church in Baltimore, in 
Trinity Methodist Church in Charleston, in the Presbyterian 
church in St. Augustine, and in the First Presbyterian Church 
and St. John's Methodist Church in Augusta. This Southern 
trip, which I took for rest and to relieve me from the great 
pressure of my work, did not prove very helpful to me. It 
seemed to develop the rheumatism, which I suppose I inherit 
from my father. I had occasional slight visitations of this 
malady up to June, when I went to Emory and Henry College 
to deliver the address before the two literary societies. On 
my way thither my suffering increased. I suffered very greatly 
while there, but was very much interested in the college and 
enjoyed the kind attention of President Wiley. 

. " On my way I stopped a day in Lynchburg especially to 
see my old friend, the Rev. John Bayley, who had been the 
minister in Randolph-Macon circuit when I was professor in 
college. I was interested also in seeing this beautiful country 
in a visit to Abingdon, where the Martha Washington College 
is situated, and to Saltville and Glade Springs, where I received 
the kindest attentions. I bore up under my pain until I could 
reach home, but the strain upon me and the effort in preach- 
ing two sermons upon my return prostrated me, and during 



278 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

the succeeding week I gave up and was under medical treat- 
ment. Nevertheless on the following Sunday I was at my 
post, and although suffering more or less during the summer 
I fulfilled all my public duties, among them a sermon and an 
address before the great Chautauqua Assembly. 

" In the summer of this year I received a letter inviting me 
to become a member of the Victoria Institute, which is the 
philosophical society of Great Britain, of which the Earl of 
Shaftesbury is president. Nothing else of special note occurred 
until the i8th of December, when I united my son. Dr. Frank 
M. Deems, in matrimony with Miss Grace Brotherton, by 
which I believe he got from the Lord a good wife and I an 
excellent daughter. The year of the church closed in great 
peace and harmony. All our financial obligations were met, 
an admirable board of officers was elected, and while, owing 
to the fluctuation of the New York population, many had left 
us, we closed the year with more upon our roll than we had 
when we began." 

Dr. Deems's pulpit and pastoral work and his editorial labors 
on the "Sunday Magazine" were the objects of unremitting 
attention and faithful efforts throughout the year 1879. The 
only recreation he indulged in, if recreation it may be called, 
consisted in several visits to various parts of the land to preach, 
lecture, or make addresses. 

The fact that he did not break down under labors to which 
an apparently stronger man would have succumbed was due 
largely to his talent for sleep and his observance of Saturday 
as his physical Sabbath. 

In an article in the " Homiletic Review " for October, 1889, 
while giving his views on the subject of " Ministers Breaking 
Down in Health," Dr. Deems wrote : 

" I have pretty strictly observed the Sabbath law during the 
last score of years, namely, of sequestering one day, Saturday, 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 279 

in each week from all kinds of professional business, making 
it a day on which on no account would I read a sermon, a 
treatise on theology, or anything that has to do with my pro- 
fession — a day in which I sleep, bathe, doze, browse, and do 
nothing in the most promiscuous manner. 

" Some pastors may believe in touching up their sermon on 
Saturday in order to be ready for the next day's service. 
When I go to bed on Saturday night, I do not know what I 
am to preach about the next day ; I have clean forgot- 
ten. But on this Thursday afternoon in which I am being 
interviewed both my sermons are in a drawer of my desk 
as ready as I can make them for my use next Sunday 
morning. 

" When I come in on Saturday evening [after a Russian 
bath and a meeting of the genial Philothean Club of minis- 
ters.— Eds.] my wife reads to me until bedtime, and ordinarily 
the reading of that evening consists of stories. Among men 
I prefer Walter Scott as a pure and unadulterated story-teller ; 
among women, on the other side George Eliot, and upon this 
side Amelia Barr." 

In February, 1879, he keenly enjoyed a visit to Boston and 
its vicinity, where he had been invited to deliver one of the 
addresses at one of Joseph Cook's famous conversations, and 
where he met many charming people. The entry in his diary 
for February 12th reads: "Went with A. Bronson Alcott to 
Concord. Paid a visit to Ralph Waldo Emerson ; to the li- 
brary ; to ' Sleepy Hollow ' ; to Hawthorne's and Thoreau's 
graves. Back to Boston. Heard Phillips Brooks; had an in- 
terview with him after service." 

On June 2 2d of this year Dr. Deems preached the univer- 
sity sermon at Union College. From Schenectady, passing 
through New York, he went to Cariisle, Pa., to attend the 
commencement of his alma mater, Dickinson College, where 
he made an address before the hterary societies and delivered 



280 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

the alumni oration, of which the following account appeared 
in the Harrisburg " Patriot " : 

" Carlisle, June 25th. 

" The trustees, alumni, and the literary societies have all had 
their respective meetings to-day. This evening the Rev. Charles 
F. Deems, D.D., LL.D., of the Church of the Strangers, New 
York City, delivered the alumni oration. He called it ' Forty 
Years Ago.' 

" The speaker began by a description of affairs at Dickin- 
son College forty years ago, when his class was graduated. 
He characterized the faculty— President Durbin, Professor 
Caldwell, Dr. John McClintock, the Rev. Robert Emory, and 
Professor Allen, now president of Girard College. He re- 
viewed the class of '39, giving what he knew of the history 
of its members, and complimenting the Rev. Dr. Crooks and 
the late Rev. Thomas Vernon Moore. The condition of 
Carlisle and of the State was then spoken of. Joe Ritner 
was then governor and had just vetoed a railroad bill. In 
connection with this fact the story of Slaymaker's bull was told. 
On a railway line then recently opened lived a gentleman 
named Slaymaker. His bull heard the oncoming train, and 
planting himself on the track, pawing, bellowing, and prepar- 
ing to gore the new and terrible comer, he struck the engine, 
which was not going at a killing rate, but returned the attack 
with enough force to throw the bull over the fence. Three 
successive days this was done, when the bull gave up the 
contest in final discouragement. At a public meeting soon 
after, this toast was given : ' Here's to Joe Ritner and Slay- 
maker's bull— both opposed to railroads.' 

"The general condition of the country, the slavery discus- 
sion, and the financial distress were described. From college 
life Dr. Deems passed on to note the state of things in New 
York City at the time. He described the city as he saw it 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 281 

then, the principal ministers, and the excitement of the Meth- 
odists over their centenary. The newspapers were talked of, 
and sketches were given of Bryant, Francis Hall, Willis, and 
Gaylord Clark. Some interesting reminiscences were furnished 
of what was then in the daily papers. For instance, the ' Com- 
mercial Advertiser' of June 22, 1839, had in it a letter from 
Boston dated four days before, signed ' H. G.,' a signature 
which afterward became of world-wide fame. In the ' Even- 
ing Post' of the 24th of June the latest English news was 
dated May 20th, and five steamships were announced to sail 
for Europe during that whole year. On the 28th the same 
paper glorified an ' expeditious passage to Buffalo,' which was 
described in detail by river, rail, canal, and steamboat, and was 
triumphantly announced as occupying only two days and three 
nights for the ' immense journey.' 

"Some notable occurrences of the year 1839 were then re- 
viewed. Daguerre had just announced to the world the pro- 
cess of taking pictures. The Queen of England had courted 
and married Prince Albert. Penny postage was proposed in 
Great Britain while a boy at an American college was paying 
a quarter of a dollar for every letter he sent to his sweet- 
heart. 

" Dr. Deems, it is well known, is a Southerner, and was in 
the Confederacy during the whole of the late unpleasantness. 
What he said on that subject may be worth recording in full. 
He said : 

" ' Almost midway across the path of forty years fell the 
gigantic shadow of the Civil War. Men from this college 
fought on both sides. It would not be wise at this time to 
say anything which could quicken any root of bitterness not 
yet thoroughly dead. Yet scholarly men, when nearly a score 
of years have passed away, ought to be able to talk of such 
far-off events with rational dispassionateness ; and I think you 
will concede that it would not be an unreasonable claim upon 



282 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

my part if I should suppose myself capable of making fair 
judgments in the premises. 

" ' If to me were committed the task of instructing the muse 
of history how to set forth the relative position of the parties 
in that unhappy conflict which tore our country, I should put 
the statement thus : the North loved the Union and constitu- 
tional liberty ; the South loved constitutional liberty and the 
Union. The North saw no way to preserve liberty except by 
the maintenance of the Union, and would not allow its regard 
for the Constitution to stand in the way of the Union ; the 
South saw no way of maintaining constitutional hberty inside 
the Union, and would not let its regard for the Union stand 
in the way of constitutional liberty. If any at the South sup- 
posed that the Northern people were willing to infringe the 
Constitution wantonly they did the North a grievous wrong. 
It lacerated the hearts of many noble men in the North when 
the conviction was forced upon them that it was expedient for 
a season to put the Constitution in abeyance for the sake of 
the vast ulterior good which should come from the preserva- 
tion of the Union. If any at the North supposed that the 
Southern people had no love for the Union they did the South 
a grievous wrong. Thousands of Southerners stood by and 
saw the spade that turned up the first sod to begin a grave for 
the Union, and wept heartbrokenly such bitter, manly tears as 
a man might weep who stands by the tomb that opens to re- 
ceive a cherished child whom he had given up to death rather 
than dishonor. 

" ' When the conflict began the pertinacity of the South nat- 
urally intensified the love for the Union at the North, while 
the pertinacity of the North decreased the regard for the 
Union at the South. From the history of the times might be 
brought abundant testimony to confirm these statements. No 
more conspicuous and honest representative of the North 
existed during the war than Abraham Lincoln ; and this is the 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 283 

text of a telegram of the 2 2d of August, 1862, sent by him to 
Horace Greeley: "If there be those who would not save the 
Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do 
not agree with them. If there be those who would not save 
the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, 
I do not agree with them. My paramount object is to save 
the Union, and not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I 
could save the Union without freeing a slave, I would do it, 
and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others 
alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and 
the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the 
Union ; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe 
it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I 
shall beheve what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do 
more whenever I believe doing more will help the cause." 

" ' This is a perspicuous, exhaustive, and manly utterance, 
and I suppose may be taken to represent the sentiment of the 
Northern mind. On the other side, Robert E. Lee thus wrote 
his sisters in April, 1861 : "The whole South is in a state of 
revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been 
drawn ; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of 
things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for 
redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person 
I had to meet the question whether I should take part against 
my native State. With all my devotion to the Union and the 
feelings of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have 
not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against 
my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned 
my commission in the army, and, save in defense of my native 
State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be 
needed. I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword." 

" ' The bitterest thing for the whole country, in the dread 
series of horrors which marked our Civil War, was the assas- 
sination of Abraham Lincoln. Will a personal reminiscence 



284 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

be admissible? I shall never forget the day of the terrible 
tidings. General Joe Johnston had been falling back before 
the advancing columns of Sherman. I had left a portion of 
my family in Raleigh, N. C, in the house of my friend, the 
Hon. D. M. Barringer, and had gone on to Greensboro, hav- 
ing been formerly president of a college there. Negotiations 
were being pushed between Generals Sherman and Johnston, 
and hourly consultations were taking place between gentlemen 
collected in the town by the exigencies of the war. Two of 
the best friends I ever had were Governor Morehead and the 
Hon. John A. Gilmer, member of Congress from that district. 
The latter was one of the most intense lovers of the Union 
that the country ever produced. It is said that in his inter- 
views with President Lincoln before the secession of North 
Carolina the presentation of his views would often be accom- 
panied with tears. These two gentlemen walked with me to- 
ward the railway, and while we were conversing an aid, I 
think, of General Johnston brought the intelhgence that Mr. 
Lincoln had been assassinated. Not one of us could believe 
that such an atrocity had occurred, and I remember that I 
openly disavowed my belief in the statement ; and when asked 
by my friends how I could account for the origin of such a 
rumor, I presented the view that some of the Federal troops, 
desiring to break through military restraint, had started the 
story in order to excuse the perpetration of outrages which 
they desired to commit and which, I feared. General Sherman 
could not restrain.* I am satisfied that the most trustworthy 
Southern men do believe that the loss of Mr. Lincoln was one 
of the greatest disasters that ever befell the South and the 
whole country.' 

" From this sad theme the speaker passed on to speak of 

* This was his view immediately upon hearing the news, but we learn 
from his journal that he was among the first to accept the tidings as " true 
and dreadful." 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 285 

the religious movements of that era: the revival in 1858, 
which began to lead to the present unity of the churches in 
Christian work, the rise of the Evangelical Alliance, the in- 
crease of fraternity, and the inception of the Reformed Epis- 
copal Church under the leadership of Bishop Cummins, the 
speaker's old college-mate. 

" Dr. Deems concluded by reviewing hastily the additions 
that had been made to human knowledge and comfort by the 
inventions and discoveries of the past forty years. In '39 there 
were no railways to speak of, no gas-works, no telegraphic 
communication, except between Baltimore and Washington, 
no grain elevators, no street-cars, no sleeping-cars, no photo- 
graphs, no celluloid collars and cuffs. What may we not expect 
forty years hence? " 

In August, 1879, by invitation, he went to Kentucky to 
attend, near Paris, the Deering camp-meeting, and to preach. 
On this occasion he was made happy not only by making many 
new friends, but also by reunions with such old friends as the 
Rev. Dr. Charles Taylor, of Covington, Mr. Hiram Shaw, of 
Lexington, who had been his traveling companion in Europe 
in i860, and the genial Bishop Kavanaugh. 

But Dr. Deems was at this period overtaxing his physical 
and mental powers of endurance, and began to suffer accord- 
ingly. He therefore decided to give up his work on the 
"Sunday Magazine," which he did, resigning the editorship 
September ist. Moreover, he was persuaded to lay aside his 
work for several months and go abroad for rest. 

Before starting on his long journey, at the suggestion of his 
people he heartily gave his attention to placing in the Church 
of the Strangers a bronze tablet as a grateful memorial of the 
late Cornelius Vanderbilt. The expense of this tablet was paid 
by a fund created by individual subscriptions of the people, 
no subscription exceeding one dollar. Messrs. W. Gibson's 



286 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Sons, of New York City, were the artists, and this effort of their 
skill has been pronounced by the best critics to be of the high- 
est order of merit. The memorial was viewed by the press on 
Saturday, December 6th, and was unveiled Sunday, December 
7th. It consists of a handsome black marble slab, embedded 
in the west wall of the church, to the south of the pulpit, and 
measures four feet in width by two feet and four inches in 
height. The bronze tablet itself is one foot and a half high 
by three feet wide, and is richly and artistically designed and 
ornamented in the Romanesque style. Around the border is 
engraved the Scripture text, " He was worthy : for he hath 
built us a synagogue." Within, in ornamental letters and sur- 
rounded by artistic designs and symbols, are engraved these 
words : " Erected to the glory of God and in memory of Cor- 
nelius Vanderbilt by the Church of the Strangers." In this 
inscription the most prominent position and the most striking 
lettering are given to the name of the Deity, that the idea might 
be conveyed that while gratitude is expressed to man the chief 
glory is given to God. This tablet, as well as the motive from 
which it sprang into existence, has received from right-minded 
people only words of highest commendation. 

At the December monthly meeting of the congregation, 
which was also the annual meeting, all the reports were so en- 
couraging as to set Dr. Deems's mind at rest as he started off 
for a six months' absence. The church owed not one cent, 
many new members had been added during the year, and a 
spirit of unity and industry prevailed. 

Another gratifying thing both to Dr. Deems and his son, 
the Rev, Edward M. Deems, was the action of the church 
authorities in inviting the latter to serve as acting pastor during 
the absence of his father from January i to July i, 1880.* No 

* Mr. Deems had been pastor of the First rreshyterian Church, I.ong- 
mont, Colo., for two years, and Iiad recently returned from a four months' 
tour in Europe. 



INCREASING ACTIVITY 287 

pastor could have left his church for a prolonged absence under 
circumstances more favorable to freedom from anxiety. 

About the last thing Dr. Deems did before starting on his 
travels was to establish the Deems Fund in the University of 
North Carolina. He thus wrote of this matter some years 
later : 

" The history of this fund is this. My father was a Meth- 
odist minister on a limited salary. He found it difficult, with 
all the economy which I exercised, to meet all my expenses at 
college, although I believe there is not an alumnus of Dickin- 
son College who spent less in the four years of his undergrad- 
uate course than I did. I lacked not quite twenty dollars of 
paying up every bill I owed when the time of my graduation 
came. I borrowed it of the president, the Rev. Dr. Durbin, 
and in less than a year I had repaid the loan. There was a 
sense of independence in this that has always been a great 
gratification to me. It suggested, also, that I in my turn might 
be able to do something for some one else going through college 
under straitened circumstances. 

"In the year 1879 I began to carry out my design. My 
former pupil, the Hon. Kemp P. Battle, had become president 
of the University of North Carolina. While T was a young 
professor there my first child, Theodore Disosway Deems, was 
born. He fell in the Confederate service under Stonewall 
Jackson. As a memorial to him and as carrying forward my 
project, in December of 1879 I forwarded one hundred dollars 
to President Battle, to be loaned to students at easy per cent, 
and on easy time, the amounts when repaid to be reloaned. 
I had contributed six hundred dollars in this way when, one 
day, I was invited by Mr. William H. Vanderbilt to call at 
his house, then at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fortieth 
Street, to give him some advice in regard to a matter upon 
which he had been studying and upon which I happened to 
have, as he believed, the information he needed. He knew 



288 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

something about my students' loan fund, and asked me par- 
ticularly as to its details. It was a short story, which I told 
him frankly. 

" ' Why, doctor, I will give you ten thousand dollars for 
that ! ' he said. 

" ' You will? ' said I. ' Scholar and gentleman! ' 

" That was all that was said. Next day a check came for 
the amount ; and when I wrote to Mr. Vanderbilt to ask for 
directions for its disbursement, his reply was that he wanted 
it to go just where my donations had gone and in the same 
way, his only request being that I should make it do the most 
good possible to the most boys." 

At length all preparations were completed, and on Tuesday 
morning, December 30th, attended by troops of friends, Dr. 
Deems entered the cabin of the " Germanic " of the White 
Star Line. Under a shower of flowers and farewells he started 
on his pilgrimage to Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine, full of joyful 
anticipations of the realization of one of the sweetest dreams 
of his life — to see earth's most sacred places, with which al- 
ready he had become so familiar by his studies for the pulpit 
and his preparation for writing the life of Jesus. 



CHAPTER XII 

IN BIBLE LANDS, 1880 

DR. DEEMS'S voyage across the Atlantic was uneventful, 
but most restful. He thus writes of his one Sunday on 
the ocean : 

"The first Sunday in January, 1880, was spent on the sea 
in the good ship ' Germanic ' of the White Star Line. A 
minister of the gospel of the Son of God is never ' off duty ' ; 
his whole hfe must preach when his tongue is silent. Ten 
days of confinement to the same party, in a limited space, 
with the routine of ship life, put a clergyman under very close 
inspection. It is of no use to put on anything, and he cannot 
stand off from his fellow-passengers. If love for God and 
love for men and an intense conviction of the truth of the 
gospel pervade his whole spiritual constitution, his presence 
will be a blessing ; for these will come out in all his actions 
and speech, whether he pray or play ; but if these be absent, 
all priestly airs will pass for nothing. Few things are so 
searching as a sea voyage. Happy is the minister who feels 
when he lands that he has been servant to no other than his 
divine Master. If this be not the case, it would seem to have 
been better that he should have been dropped into the river 
at the dock before starting, even if no Jonah whale were there 
to give him a warm bath. 

289 



290 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

" We had but one Sunday on o\a voyage. On Satiu-day the 
purser pohtely invited me to officiate next morning. I make it 
a point to accept every invitation to preach when there seems 
to be a fitting occasion and no other minister is present. A 
pulpit was rigged at the end of one of the long tables, and 
nearly all the saloon passengers were present. Of course I 
conformed to the Sunday custom of the ship and read the 
morning prayers of the Church of England, omitting such 
portions as are specifically appropriate only in Great Britain, 
not, however, omitting the 'prayer for the queen's majesty,' 
modifying it after this fashion : ' Most heartily we beseech thee 
with thy favor to behold the [our] Most Gracious Sovereign 
Lady, Queen Victoria, and thy servant, the President of the 
United States, and to replenish them,' etc. There was a 
supply of prayer-books and the responses were hearty. 

"The text of the sermon was Genesis xii. 2: 'And thou 
shalt be a blessing.' I had no sermon on this text, except 
such as had suggested itself to me in reading this chapter in 
my state-room the day before. 

" I regretted to discover that the second-class passengers 
had not been invited to the saloon, together with such of the 
ship's crew as were off duty, and resolved to make a stipula- 
tion for their presence if a similar invitation should be given 
me. No service seems complete without a collection. As a 
thank-offering I ' took up a collection ' for the Liverpool 
Orphan Asylum, and a neat sum was contributed. No doubt 
there will be some light-minded party to suggest that it was 
the ' ruling passion,' and perhaps throw up to me, as an Eng- 
lish lady already has done, the story of the two sailors on the 
wreck. In the afternoon I read the life of Archbishop Whately, 
written by his daughter. In several places I was reminded 
of the great injustice which may be done to men under the 
charge of plagiarism ; for in this book were thoughts which I 
had frequently uttered and supposed them to be original. 



IN BIBLE LANDS 291 

On the Sunday immediately preceding my departure I had 
made a statement in the morning sermon which evidently 
startled the congregation, so much so that I felt compelled to 
repeat it with explanatory phrases. In this book I found the 
identical sentence, word for word, recorded as a saying of the 
archbishop very many years ago. Of the existence of the vol- 
ume I had no knowledge until I found it in the ship's library. 
It was pleasant to know that I had ever thought as such a 
man as Whately had thought; but it was not pleasant to 
reflect that some microscopic critic might see a report of the 
sermon, might also see this memoir, and then might scribble 
for some newspaper the charge that the pastor of the Church 
of the Strangers had, before preaching it, become 'saturated ' 
with the great Archbishop of Dublin ! " * 



From the LoJido7i " Christian Age " 

" The Rev. Dr. C. F. Deems, pastor of the Church of the 
Strangers, New York, arrived in London on the loth of Jan- 
uary, and gave us a call. The doctor is of medium height, 
quick in speech, affable in manner, employs few but well- 
selected words. Dr. Deems presides over a large church with 
a membership of six hundred persons, and has a congregation 
of twelve hundred. He is en route to the Holy Land. During 
the week he spent in London he has received the most cordial 
receptions. Among these we may note his breakfast with the 
Rt. Rev. Bishop of Rangoon, at the Religious Tract Society's 
premises. Here his address was acknowledged by the com- 
mittee's unanimous vote of thanks, one of the committee adding, 
' Dr. Deems joins wit to wisdom.' By a special invitation, he 
visited the Presbyterian College in Queen's Square. The 
London Presbytery was in session, and he was requested to 

* " Honiiletic Review," vol. iv., p. 353. 



292 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

remain as a ' visiting member.' This led to a pleasant inter- 
view with Dr. Oswald Dykes and Dr. Donald Fraser, who 
invited Dr. Deems to attend their annual social meeting in the 
Regent's Square Church. The doctor has been solicited to 
arrange for the publication of a volume of his sermons after 
his return from the East. During his short stay in London 
the doctor managed to hear Cardinal Manning, the Rev. 
Newman Hall, and Dr. Joseph Parker." 



From the ''Anglo-American Times" of January 30//^ 

" The Rev. Dr. Charles F. Deems, of New York, spent in 
Paris three days last week en route to Egypt. He will go up 
the Nile as far as the first cataract, after which he will make 
a tour through the Holy Land, thence to Constantinople and 
Athens, and return to Paris for a brief visit. Dr. Charles F. 
Deems is the popular pastor of the Church of the Strangers. 
When passing through London en route for Palestine he stayed 
with his friend Mr. Hoge at Bexley, Kent. The day before 
his departure for France, while engaged with the family in 
quiet conversation in the drawing-room, all were startled by 
a piercing scream. Mrs. Hoge, who once lost a litde child 
by an accident, was almost palsied with fright. The doctor ran 
through the hall, down the stairs, and made his way to the 
kitchen, where he found Mr. Hoge's little three-year-old boy, 
who had been left alone for a moment by his nurse, enveloped 
in flames. Stripping off his coat with great presence of mind, 
the doctor wrapped it around the Httle fellow and thus smo- 
thered the flame and saved the child. Dr. Deems said he knew 
very well his letter of credit and excursion tickets to and from 
the first cataract were in the side pocket of his coat, but he 
never faltered a moment on this account. The fire was ex- 
tinguished before it had gained much headway." 



IN BIBLE LANDS 293 

To His Wife 

"Paris, Hotel de Londres, January 19, 1880. 

" Yesterday afternoon I hit on a service at Notre Dame. 
How exceedingly grand the structure! and what music! In 
striving to get out, as my luck would have it, I wandered into 
the sacristy of the chapter among all the ' bigwigs.' I begged 
pardon, explained that I was 'an American ecclesiastic,' and 
they actually welcomed me and begged me to go all over the 
apartments! Thence I took a cab to go to Father Hya- 
cinthe's. What a change from that grand Notre Dame, 
where he used to thunder, to this modest chapel of the Gal- 
lican Catholic Church! 

" The service was over two hours in length, the sermon 
more than one. He had not expected to preach. The lesson 
for the day was ' The Marriage in Cana,' and he preached on 
the subject. Under the ban for being a married priest, you 
should have seen the vigor he put into his discourse. Some 

passages were very fine. He is about as tall as F and as 

big as Mr. Beecher. 

"After service I expressed a wish to speak with him and 
was shown up narrow stairs to his vestry. There sat Mere 
Hyacinthe, his spouse, holding her court until he came from 
the altar. Every one stood around her. She is a noble-look- 
ing woman. At last she signed to me. I was beginning to 
make a little speech in French, handing her my card. The 
moment she saw the name she arose and said, ' Come, sit by 
me, and let me have the honor of holding that hand.' The 
crowd fell back. She held me by the right hand and said, 
' I have heard you preach, and shall never forget you. Oh, 
you cannot tell how many times I have prayed for I'Eglise des 
Strangers.' And many more sayings quite as kind. Then 
she took me into the inner room, where we talked with the 
p^re. When he found who I was he said, ' O, oui, oui ; vous 



294 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

etes comme nous.' ' Oui, monsieur, but a good deal more 
Protestant.' After pleasant talk, in which each of us explained 
his ecclesiastical position to the other, the Loysons begged me 
at the Holy Sepulcher to pray for the unity of all Christians." 

To His Wife 

" Island Corfu, Greece, Sunday, January 25, 1880. 

" I am to-day heartily homesick. . . . This afternoon must 
be given to letters. I sometimes fear that letters will drive 
me to the madhouse. . . . From Paris we had a bitterly cold 
ride. Left Monday night. Tuesday night at Turin. Wednes- 
day at Bologna. Then twenty-seven hours shut up in one of 
those infernal machines, which lock you in with no redress, 
whoever may be your companions. In crossing Mont Cenis 
it was horribly cold. And all along the snow was from four 
inches to two feet in depth. Not oftener than every half- 
century such a snow. But oh, how beautiful, how splendid, 
the scenery! How often I cried, ' See, ma, see! ' and I heard 
you ' oh '-ing all the way along. Bologna was always interest- 
ing to me, and this was a fine visit, but so cold. We reached 
Brindisi to dine, and took the steamer to this island, passing 
along the Albanian coast, seeing the high mountains covered 
with snow. 

"This morning I worshiped with the British Consulate 
Church in the old Parliament House. This population is an 
odd mixture. On landing I saw the most ferocious faces. 
The Albanians stalk about with a tool-chest of weapons in 
front of them and greatcoats hanging on their backs. The 
modern Greek is spoken here. I copy some names of shops 
for Ned ; his Greek will enable him to make out the businesses." 

In his journal Dr. Deems writes : " On Sunday afternoon 
[January 25, 1880] I came upon a church with the following 



IN BIBLE LANDS 295 

thrilling inscription : ' NA02 THE T. 0. <I). 2ENi2N ' (' Church 
of the Strangers ')." 

To His Wife 

"Cairo, Egypt, February i, 1880. 

" We were in Corfu last week. Then came in the steamers, 
and we put out that evening for Alexandria — ' Skanderea,' 
as the Arabs so musically name it. Read Acts xxvii. and you 
will know what a sea this is when the Euroclydon is upon it. 
Paul never had my sympathies so much. But we lost nothing 
but a day. Another steamer lost some passengers. Nearly 
all our company were deadly sick. I took every meal. If 
any report of any little accident reach you, it amounted to 
nothing — only a bruise on the leg, which did not keep me from 
' doing ' Alexandria to such an extent as to excite the envy of 
the English co-voyagers.* We reached Alexandria Thursday 
afternoon. . . . This afternoon I started to find the school 
of Miss Whately, the archbishop's daughter. The Rev. Mr. 
Binnie, whose church the Duke of Argyll attended in London, 
expressed a desire to go along. By perseverance we found 
it and found two sisters, one who wrote his lordship's life, and 
one who has founded, and mainly from her own means sus- 
tained, these schools. We have a little book of hers. They 
gave us a warm reception. My familiarity with the works of 
the family seemed to take them by storm. When we rose to 
go Mr. Binnie suggested that I should lead in prayer, which 
I did fervently. Miss Jane, the biographer, gave me two of 
her books. 

" February 2d, 5 : 30 p.m. I have stood on top the highest 
pyramid, penetrated its farthest recess, stood before the Sphinx, 

* It would seem that Dr. Deems, during the storm, came near losing 
his life by falling on the hurricane-deck, the entangling of his foot in the 
shield of the rudder-chain being all that saved him from being thrown 
overboard. 



296 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

penetrated the recesses of the temple of the Sphinx, hunted on 
hands and knees in tombs, scraped away the sand from the 
hieroglyphics, and am back! Before washing out of my eyes 
the dust of the Pharaohs and their wives I must close this let- 
ter to catch the mail. It was most stupendous! Next to 
getting married, the greatest sensation I have had was at the 
pyramids." 

From His Journal 

" Monday, February 2d. To the pyramids. The sheik. 
The ascent. My helpers, Mohammed and Ah. My sickness. 
The nuisance of bakshish. The Sphinx. Driving away the 
Ishmaelites. I asked one of the Arabs, ' Where is Abou ben 
Adhem?' Of course he had not read the poem, but he an- 
swered promptly, ' Oh, that man been dead long ago.' ' Where's 
his tribe?' 'No tribe.' 'Then did Leigh Hunt pray in 
vain! ' All Greek to him." 

To Mis Granddaughter, Katherine Verdery 

" On the Nile, Ix\ Egypt, Africa, 

" Wednesday, February 4, 1880. 

" ' Gramper * * is, oh, so far away from his darlings, and so 
homesick! It is after two o'clock and he has had luncheon, 
and his babies probably have not had their breakfast. And 
what sights gramper has seen! Yesterday he saw a building 
which has stood as long before Abraham was bom as the time 
between the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem and the birth of 
my darling ' A. K.' When you grow older your dear mama 
can make you understand this. There he went down into a 
tomb far underground and saw a stone coffin so large that 
your whole family could take breakfast in it, and it was a hun- 
dred times as old as gramper. 

* The child's expression for " grandpa." 



IN BIBLE LANDS 297 

"Tell papa and mama that last Monday gramper went to 
the top of the largest pyramid. It is almost seven times as 
high as the watch-tower in your street, and the steps almost a 
yard high. Two Arabs, Mohammed and AH, pulled gramper 
up. It was awful ; the agony given the poor rheumatic arm 
seemed more than could be borne, and once gramper sat down 
to faint. To faint and to fall there was an awful death. He 
could look down to the island where little Moses' bulrush ark 
stranded, and out to the obelisk that Joseph looked at when 
married, and when the dim death-sickness fell upon him he saw 
all his darlings sleeping in their New York and Augusta beds, 
and so he ruled himself back from the brink of unconscious- 
ness and lived. 

" Little and big Arabs run all about this great pile of stones 
and will do anything for money. The sheik of the pyramids 
had somehow learned that special attention was to be paid to 
A. K.'s gramper. How she got there I do not know, but a 
little Arab girl squatted by me with a goblet of cold water. 
' Water, docta, water? ' (They all knew me on landing as * the 
doctor,' and thought I owned all the English people and car- 
riages, and America too.) 'Yes,' I said. Ali took my hand- 
kerchief, sopped it in water, slid it up to my temple, and patted 
my back. Mohammed rubbed my legs and said caressingly, 
'Take your time, doctor.' (They all know a few English 
phrases.) ' Take yoiu" time, doctor,' echoed Ah. Gramper 
felt hfe coming back. Silent thankfulness came first; then 
fun, that said quietly and brokenly, ' Yes, boys ; I must take 
time or eternity will take me.' Then I put all weakness aside 
and said, 'Up;' and we went on the top, safe, if not sound, 
my breathing as good as that of a healthy babe ; my lungs 
were the admiration of the company. Then I was all right. 
Oh, such sights! Oh, such air! I had never breathed any- 
thing like that. After staying as long as I wanted and making 
my observations, the air had so invigorated me that I stood 



298 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

on the cope and looked down, a little dizzy, as if I stood on 
a chair. I walked the whole way down, supported by the 
hands of my Arabs, face foremost, as sound of mind and clear 
of head as ever in my life. // was worth more than it had 
cost. But to-day I am so sore that I can hardly put my 
clothes on. 

" Now we are coming into a warmer climate and I trust I 
shall lose my rheumatism. It is beautiful on the Nile to-day. 
The sky is perfectly clear ; the dome above our head is of the 
deepest possible blue, and all the horizon an exquisitely delicate 
pearl color. Little birds come on board, one kind being what 
they call in England water-wagtail. The Arab name is 
ashoor. They are regular little Turks ; each little man bird 
has several wives, and they whip them well if they don't be- 
have themselves. They all have the crescent mark on their 
breasts. 

" Gramper has had every attention paid him. At Alexan- 
dria he was entertained one night by an English merchant. 
He rode from the station to the mansion on a little donkey 
named ' BulbuL' On the way he saw two children in a basket 
riding on another donkey. He shouted out to them, and soon 
after they came into the court, and then ran into the dining- 
room, and one of them rushed into gramper's arms. The black- 
eyed, rosy-cheeked little Hebe was named Gracie Alderson. 
She pushed back the hair from gramper's forehead and kissed 
it and said, ' Have you any Httle girl? ' whereupon gramper 
proceeded to deliver a discourse on ' Lambly Lamb ' and 
' Dovely Dove.' The family were so kind to me! The chil- 
dren rode over to the Cairo station to bid me good-by. 

" I do not know whether you can read this letter, the boat 
jars me so. Nor do I know where it is to be posted. As I 
cannot write much, you must send this to 'grammer.' Dear 
grammer, how I long to see her!" 



JN BIBLE LANDS 299 



To His Wife 

"Assouan, Upper Egypt, February i6, 1880, 
" Oh, how I longed for you to-day at Philse ! The beauty 
of the island and the grandeur of its surroundings, seen in the 
splendor of an Egyptian day which gazed down upon the 
glorious ruins of the last temple built to the old faith, was 
something to live in the memory forever. We went to it 
through a desert, some of the party on camels, some on 
donkeys. 

" In some portions not a spear of green growth was to be 
seen. We then came down to the first cataract, which we had 
flanked. Down under the ledge of sandstone which forms the 
plateau on the bend of the river, from which travelers look 
down upon the Nubians shooting the cataract, I gathered and 
send you these httle flowers, a smile from a frowning brow." 

" Suez, Egypt, February 28, 1880. 
" Every Monday I have written you, but next Monday I 
shall be two days' journey from any post-office, and this is my 
last writing for three weeks. My camels have gone around 
the head of the Red Sea, and this afternoon I go down by 
boat and land near the fount, or well, of Moses. There I 
mount for a few hours' ride to break me in to camels. I shall 
be on them every day for three weeks, except the three days I 
propose to spend at Sinai. It now occurs to me how wise the 
arrangement was to lead the Israelites through this great and 
terrible wilderness as a preparation for the giving of the law. 
It is like going up many steps to a high altar. Yesterday I 
left Cairo and came to this place by rail, doubling the direct 
distance by sweeping around the land of Goshen, where the 
Israehtes dwelt. If, now, on that elevation down there near 



300 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

the arm of the Red Sea were Sinai, I should not be able to 
approach it with much awe, but eight days of travel above the 
measured tread of the solemn camel, wrapped in one's thoughts, 
and nine nights of sleep in a tent amid the stillness of a region 
where no bird chirps and no insect flies, must be the best pos- 
sible preparation for going to the mount that may be touched, 
where Moses battled with God. Oh, that the Mount of the 
Law may give me the most solemn preparation to receive the 
benediction of Calvary! 

" I have for dragoman the best recommended man in Cairo. 
He says the camels are good. We take kitchen, meats, fruit, 
water, everything, with us. I have shortened my trip and shall 
not go up through the peninsula to Hebron, but return to 
Suez and thence to Port Said, to Jaffa, Jerusalem, etc. Will 
give reason when we meet. I have three companions ; one 
is a clergyman. For my own edification I should prefer to go 
alone and have three weeks of silence and of thought. But 
if anything should happen it is better to have companions who 
speak one's own tongue. Everything now promises a good 
and pleasant trip. You need not worry. About the day this 
reaches you I shall be on the canal going to Port Said and all 
extraordinary danger will be past. The serious part of my 
whole trip lies between my writing and your reception of this 
letter. The heavenly Father will be with me. Into his hands, 
for judgment and mercy, I give my soul." 

" Sinai, in Arabia, March 9, 1880. 
" It would make your head swim if you could see the dizzy 
heights to which I have carried you in my heart. I write this 
from the venerable Convent of St. Catherine, more than twelve 
centuries old. It is a very peculiar place, the description of 
which is ample in my note-book and cannot be repeated here. 
It is inhabited by forty monks, presided over by a bishop. 
They are of the Greek Church, exceedingly dirty and poHte. 



IN BIBLE LANDS 301 

They have been very attentive to me. One gay and festive 
h'ttle brother calls me ' Episcopus Demetrius.' 

" My health has been good. The water here is delicious ; 
the traditional sacred places are innumerable. I have taken 
water from the well from which Moses drew to water the flocks 
of his father Jethro. The valley to the north of the convent 
bears the Arabic name of Jethro, and two mountains bear the 
names of sisters-in-law of Moses. Yesterday was a marked 
day. I went up to the spot where they say the law was given. 
It was a tremendous pull. The view from the right is most 
grand, far beyond all I had conceived. Then I climbed an- 
other great mountain, from which Dr. Robinson believes the 
law was promulgated. ' In all my life,' as A. H. C. said, have 
I never seen so perfect a day. The sky was fleckless and blue 
to a depth of blueness which is indescribable, and the air was 
delicious to the lungs. From Ras Sassafa the view of the 
plain in which it is supposed the Israelites were encamped, 
surrounded as it was by mountains, was a surpassing beauty. 
And you were with me all the while. In the solemn solitude 
of the mountain-top I lay on my face before God. Heaven 
was awfully near there. I prayed for you and for each of my 
children by name. 

"There is no certainty as to which was the exact Sinai. 
Dean Stanley leans to a mountain which he did not ascend. 
This morning I hired a Bedouin guide and ascended one side, 
and, against his protest, descended on the other. He would 
not at first consent to go to the extreme summit, but while he 
was meditating I gave him the shp, and, creeping cautiously 
around and up, sometimes on my stomach, I gained the height, 
from which I shouted to him to come up and help me down. 
Getting to a height is one thing, coming down another. But 
I did come down with swollen feet and torn hands. I know 
of no one else among the writers on Bible lands who has done 
it. My dinner was ready, bread, water, cold chicken, cheese. 



302 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

walnuts, raisins, and coffee. He has spread a table in the 
wilderness for his child. 

" Tell A. K. that we had a baby camel in our caravan, and 
as she was a girl camel I called her Princess Louise. 

" Suez, March i yth. Since the other two pages were written 
I have followed the supposed route of the children of Israel, 
reversing it by coming down from Sinai to near their crossing- 
place. I have risen very early, slept in a tent, and seen all I 
could. To-day was hard and hot, but we have had it punish- 
ingly cold. I am burnt and have grayed and thinned. It has 
been twenty days of great exertion." 

" David Street, Jerusalem, March 29, 1880. 
" For an hour my conscience has been puUing at me. My 
Monday letter has not been written. I have been passing 
about looking at this and at that. A thousand things are to 
be seen, and the Bishop of Jerusalem has invited me to a 
party at his house to-night, and I have promised his lordship 
to be present and so cannot write after dark. But you must 
know that I am still holding up, and so I rush in to write, 
even if it be a short letter, before I write up the notes of the 
day. Sight-seeing is very wearing. Your time you know is 
Hmited, and it may rain. You will never come back and so 
you want to see everything. Your enthusiasm carries you for- 
ward until you ache at the close of the day's labor. I have 
been here five days, including Sunday, and have done much. 
There is so much going up and down, as this morning over 
the Mosque of Omar, and down, down, through rough subter- 
ranean structures, and this afternoon over the Armenian Con- 
vent and up David's Tower. I hold out very well for an old 
man. The first day I could do little, as a horse in our cara- 
van had kicked my foot the day before. That passed ofT, and 
then yesterday I fell in our hotel, striking myself against the 
stone step, and am much bruised. Nevertheless you see how 



IN BIBLE LANDS 303 

much I have accomplished. I shall not resume the saddle for 
a day or two, and trust I shall be much better — all right, in- 
deed. 

"To-day I called on the Armenian patriarch. This con- 
vent is the largest in Jerusalem, and rich. The patriarch 
maintains much state, but received me most cordially. He 
can speak neither French nor English. The young man who 

accompanied me is a friend of the F s. He knows no 

English! Now fancy the scene and the struggle. The arch- 
bishop would not allow me to kiss his hand, thus acknowledg- 
ing my orders and my dignity. He knew something of 
America, and so we began. I frankly gave him my views on 
the Catholicity of Christianity, and the departure from Chris- 
tianity by those who are so fond of calhng themselves Catholic. 
That I made my companion understand, and he repeated it 
to the patriarch in splendid style. I could comprehend his 
French and know that he was doing it well. It is delightful 
to be reported above the level of one's own rhetoric. The 
patriarch showed me a very old copy of the gospels (written 
in A.D. 602), and had the sweetmeats and coffee brought in 
then, as he smilingly said, treating me 'like a Turk.' He ex- 
pressed a desire to have a portrait of me. I had no photo- 
graph, but promised to send him one when I reached America. 
I was modest enough to ask for only his autograph. He gave 
me a fine photograph with his autograph beneath it. He then 
presented me with a peculiar rosary. It is made of the seed 
of olive, of a tree which grows adjoining the prison of Christ, 
or house of Annas. Of course it is not the tree which stood 
there in the days of our Lord, but the patriarch holds it as a 
legitimate descendant. He gathers the fruit from the tree, 
which is carefully guarded by a wall seven feet high, as I was 
shown, and makes the seed into rosaries, to be given to royal 
visitors and to other ' persons of high distinction ' ; wherefore 
he most graciously presented me with one. I accepted it very 



304 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

gratefully as a present from the patriarch, and told him that I 
would take it to America and present it to my daughter who 
is to be married in July. He learned that I had two daughters 
and so insisted on my taking one for the other daughter. So 
you see how kindly the way is open before us. 

"Yesterday the American consul came and escorted me to 
church and took me home to luncheon with him. He occupies 
the house which the F s lived in. 

" The interest of this city is past measure. I have been 
afraid to begin to speak of it. There is no end. I have been 
twice to the Mount of OHves, once going to Bethany. Every 
night the full Easter moon rises over the house of Martha, and 
comes shining down on the road which Jesus followed as he 
came on Palm Sunday, and the place where he wept over 
Jerusalem. David's Tower is in front of my hotel door. Every 
spot is crowded with thrilling historical recollections. 

" Tuesday, March 30, 1880. Was at the bishop's reception 
last night. His lordship devoted a good deal of his time to 
me, but the affair would have been dull but for a sprightly old 

English spinster, a Friend, Miss F , who is very charming. 

It is delightful to be nice when old. Let us be so." 

" Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 19, 1880. 
" I write you from the oldest city known upon earth. It 
seems strange, when you have dreamed of anything for fifty 
years, to see the reality. This is a wonderful place of about 
one hundred and twenty-five thousand inhabitants, the greenest 
garden you ever saw, set in the desert. It is very Oriental. 
I can hardly write you now for the sights and sounds under 
my window. There are all sorts of colors, from the preter- 
naturally black Nubian to the beautiful girls of Circassian 
blood, white skins, red cheeks, and black eyes. The cries of 
the seller are sometimes very funny. A fellow carries bouquets 
for sale and cries out, ' Salik hamatak ' (that sounded much 



IN BIBLE LANDS 305 

like A. K.) — ' Appease your mother-in-law.' A seller of roasted 
peas cries out, ' The mother of two fires,' meaning that they 
are well roasted. A seller of cucumbers begs you, ' O father 
of a family, buy a load.' As my family is at such a distance, 
I decline to purchase. But here's a man who desires to dis- 
pose of some cresses, and to assure you that they are so fresh, 
' If an old woman eats them she will be young again next 
morning.' Don't you wish you had some? But I cannot go 
into particulars. I only wish you could see the greenery pro- 
duced by the Barada as it flows through this city. 

" My health is good. I have had my escapes, but I have 
escaped. Sometimes I am dreadfully tired. I am crowding 
so much into such little time." 

" Athens, Greece, May 13, 1880. 

" I feel that my tour is drawing to a close. For fifty years 
I have longed to see Athens, yet when I arrived my enthusiasm 
was all dead. I had been stuffed with sights from Alexandria 
to Constantinople until I could endure no more. But every 
day this city grows upon me. It will be forever a spot toward 
which the minds and hearts of scholars must turn. There are 
a thousand broken beauties here which recall a thousand recol- 
lections of poetry, eloquence, heroism, and all the glories which 
have made Greece famous. To-day I stood on the site of the 
old Areopagus where Paul made his famous address. Strange 
enough, my guide was named Dionysius. (See Acts xvii.) 
Thence I ascended the Acropolis and spent two hours around 
the Parthenon. There is so much to be seen there that I must 
go back for a few more hours. 

" Yesterday afternoon, after riding to Eleusis, the site of the 
old and famous temple of Ceres, where the Eleusinian mysteries 
were celebrated, I preached in this city ; so you see I have 
not been entirely idle. I have told you, I believe, about my 
itinerant Church of the Strangers in the Holy Land. The 



306 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

English ladies were so delighted with it that I have a little 
service in one of their rooms after dinner each evening. We 
dine from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. The newest Athens is beauti- 
ful, clean, and white, but a little too glaring. You could wish 
that some of these white marble houses had a soberer tint. 
Great taste is exhibited in many of the houses, the royal palace 
being, however, the most uninteresting I ever saw, with the 
plainest barracks front. This is too bad for Athens. The 
weather is very warm and I fear that I am writing quite stupidly, 
but I wish to catch a mail this afternoon, so I write without 
taking a nap. 

" I am ready to go home. For almost a week I have been 
a little homesick. I begin to long for my regular work and 
feel as though I could bear to hear our door-bell a little. Is 
not that a very healthy sign? 

" My program is from Athens to Trieste, starting from here 
Saturday, the 15th inst. A day in Venice, a night in Turin, 
a day in Paris, a day in Canterbury, then to London. Start 
for America June 17th. Oh, will it not be good to be at home 
again! " 

This program Dr. Deems carried out, sailing from Liverpool 
on Thursday, June 17, 1880, in the "Celtic." One entry in 
his journal is of importance, as it gives an account of an event 
which really gave birth in Dr. Deems's mind to the idea of the 
" American Institute of Christian Philosophy," of which he 
became the founder a few months later. 

From His Journal 

" Tuesday, June 8th. In the evening attended the annual 
meeting of the Victoria Institute, the philosophical society of 
Great Britain. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Cotterill, of Edinburgh, 
made the annual address. Before the address several gentle- 
men were called upon for speeches. I made the last, and it 



IN BIBLE LANDS 307 

was well received with many cheers. The Earl of Shaftes- 
bury presided." 

Dr. Deems's address is thus referred to in the printed records 
of the Victoria Institute : 

" Dr. Deems (who on rising to speak was at once requested 
by the Earl of Shaftesbury to come on to the raised dais by the 
president's chair) began his speech by urging the great value 
of the work of the society, which now numbered its supporters 
in every part of the globe, and he trusted that those who could, 
whether in America or any other part of the world, would 
strengthen its hands by joining as members. He then spoke 
of the high value of the people's edition of its more popular 
papers as enabling the society to place the results of its labors 
in the hands of the masses. ' And now,' said Dr. Deems, ' I 
hope I shall, as an American, not frighten an English audience 
by being thought to do a very strange thing ; I don't know, 
but the fact is, I am going to talk about your president.' 
(Cheers.) 'You know, in America we old people remember 
hearing about Lord Shaftesbury— our Lord Shaftesbury— when 
we were boys, children, and now we still hear about him, his 
name being associated with everything noble and for the good 
of man ; and when I left New York the only man I was told 
to be sure and see was Lord Shaftesbury. And I expected to 
see an old, decrepit man, leaning on another for support ; but 
when he walked into this room his step was firm and his eye 
as bright as that of any one. And long may he live to glad- 
den our hearts and to do the Master's work, to which he has 
devoted his life.' (Great cheering.) It would be impossible 
to describe the masterly speech and manner of Dr. Deems. 
Suffice it to say that there was no speech that pleased so much ; 
there was that directness and simpHcity about it which is now 
making American oratory so increasingly popular in England." 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY, 1880-92 

EARLY Sunday morning, July 27th, the "Celtic" was 
moored at the New York pier of the White Star Line. 
As Dr. Deems descended the gang-plank he was met with 
open arms by his two sons and a reception committee appointed 
by the monthly meeting, the governing body of the Church of 
the Strangers. He had expected to go immediately into his 
pulpit, but was informed by the committee that he had two 
days for rest with his family. 

On Tuesday evening a reception was given him at the 
church. He was first taken into the main auditorium and 
shown the apse behind the pulpit, which, through the generos- 
ity of a lady in his church, had been repaired and tastefully 
decorated during the pastor's absence. He expressed the 
greatest dehght at this long-needed improvement. Then he 
was escorted into the lecture-room, which he found packed 
with happy people, who received him with cheers. Over the 
raised platform his eyes rested on the conspicuous words made 
by gas-jets, " Welcome home." 

T. E. F. Randolph, Esq., the president of the monthly 
meeting, presided ; Professor George W. Pettit, leader of the 
choir, led the music ; and Mr. George W. Taylor, of the Ad- 
visory Council, led in prayer. After appropriate remarks by 
Mr. Randolph, Mr. Joseph J. Little, the president of the board 

308 



THE INSTITUTE OF FIIILOSOPIIY 309 

of trustees, made the address of welcome, which was most 
tender and interesting, and was closed by Mr. Little presenting 
Dr. Deems with a generous purse from the congregation. Dr. 
Deems's reply was as follows : 

" Mr. Chairman, my dear Brother Little, Sisters 
AND Brethren : I am taken at a delightful disadvantage by 
this display of kindness on the part of the officers and members 
of our beloved church. No hint had been given me that I 
should be expected to say or do anything to-night beyond 
grasping again the warm hands which dropped from mine on 
that cold December night when we parted. 

"There has been a little mysteriousness about movements 
since my arrival. Our steamer reached the pier at seven 
o'clock last Sunday morning, and I was met by a committee 
of church officers, who conducted me to my home. A thor- 
ough rest of ten days during an exceptionally tranquil voyage 
had set me up, and I told them that I should be at church. 
They exchanged glances of distress, and undertook to tell me 
that I was too tired! and to advise me to remain with my 
family! ! Of course I expected to 'remain with my family,' 
but couldn't I just as well remain with them in church? The 
friendly officers did not take into account the rare pleasure it 
is for a pastor to sit in a pew, in a pew beside his wife ; nor 
did they seem to think that naturally, as a Christian, I longed 
to hear the gospel, and, as a pastor, longed to see my own 
church sanctuary. But you know what an obedient pastor I 
have always been, and so I succumbed! This evening I 
learned what it meant. When you met me at the church door 
and under the hghts there was displayed to me the newly and 
beautifully ornamented apse, with the appropriate inscription 
and decorations with which it was adorned, I saw that you 
were kindly keeping this as a surprise to increase the delights 
which you are heaping upon my reception. 

" And now in this crowded chapel you have spoken by the 



310 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

lips of the president of your board of trustees such manly, kind, 
and Christian words of greeting as go to my very heart and 
awaken a most cordial response of reciprocation. 

"As to the long tour which I have accomplished I shall 
have other occasions on which to address you. But one thing 
you will be glad to know, and that is that I have spent six 
months of total freedom from the cares which for over thirteen 
years have pressed upon my spirit. It is my good fortune to 
have the happy faculty of being altogether in the place where 
I am ; so when I went away I left entirely. For my church, 
for my family, for all with whom I was connected, I made the 
most complete arrangements within my power. I knew the 
officers of the church. I knew you. I knew my son whom 
you had called to be your temporary pastor. I knew the great 
Head of the church. I knew that I could do nothing more 
for you before my return, and that if I suffered myself to be 
fretted by solicitude the whole intent of my separation from 
all I most loved would be defeated. 

" My friends, if I had gone pleasure-seeking, if I had be- 
come tired of my work and disgusted with the Christian 
ministry, if I had fled like Jonah from some divinely imposed 
but disagreeable mission, I could not have had this freedom 
from care. But knowing in the depths of my heart that my 
tour was undertaken in the interests of this church and for the 
increase of the usefulness of my future ministry, I had no mis- 
givings and no anxiety. Does not this church belong to the 
Lord? Do not I belong to the Lord? Will he not care for 
his own as much when we are separated as when we are to- 
gether? I had served the church thirteen years. The first 
eight years and five months were without a Sunday of vaca- 
tion. A few weeks two or three times in the latter years had 
been spent out of the city. Such continuance in labor in the 
same sphere, such frequency of preaching in the same pulpit, 
summer and winter, was calculated to beget sameness and 



THE INSTITUTE OF TIIILOSOPHY 311 

dullness and running in ruts. It seemed to me necessary for 
my mental health that I should have a total change of scene. 
So I went into a desert place apart. 

" If the first motion to go was personal, I should have been 
exceedingly obtuse not to have soon seen that our Lord had 
designs concerning yoii and the Church of the Strangers in 
this temporary separation. Our history is peculiar. Your 
pastor was not ' called,' as his brethren have been, to the pas- 
torate of an organized church. You have gathered around 
me, and the providence of God has raised you up an inde- 
pendent Christian body, an ecclesiasticized evangelical alliance 
to represent the charities and unities of Protestant Christianity. 
From time to time it has been predicted that the experiment 
would be a failure. We are far down-town. There is no church 
buUding in this city in so obscure a place as this. No street-cars 
nor omnibuses pass in front of us. We are on the last block 
of a street which is not long and is occupied by business houses. 
We are not even on a corner. Such is now the position of our 
beautiful church, which when it was erected was the cathedral 
of Presbyterianism in America. You must come in front of 
it to see it. 

" Now, whether such an organized Christian society as ours, 
unconnected with any of the sects, could sustain itself down- 
town is a question which has exercised many persons. For 
myself, it does not seem a matter of paramount importance. 
If the Lord has no need of this church, I am sure that I have 
not ; if he has, he will take care of his own. But very often 
it was not only insinuated, but asserted, that this church was 
kept alive by the exertions of the pastor, and sometimes that 
has been put forth as a compliment to me. We have tested 
that question. I have not written you a line of direction or 
advice about the economies of the church during my absence, 
and under God you have carried the church along quite as 
well as I have ever been able to do. So in the future I shall 



312 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

be relieved of any anxiety on that subject, and also from 
similar prophecies. 

" If I have had no anxiety about the church, dear friends, 
I have not suspended my affection for you. My eyes have 
been running over this crowded chapel to-night, and their re- 
port is that there are no faces present, except those of a few 
visitors, which I have not seen with the eyes of my heart while 
riding Egyptian donkeys, Arabian camels, or Syrian horses — 
faces that have risen up before me as I have gazed on the 
skies which hang over the lands made holy by the residence 
of prophets and apostles and of the Son of God. Now my 
happiness is to see those faces once more ' in the flesh.' 

" I have no promises to make. I have formed no new reso- 
lutions. But I trust that all that I have seen in distant lands, 
and all my experiences, may come out in my future ministry 
so as to be profitable to us all. My heart is filled with delight 
at your unity and cooperation, your faith and zeal, your hope 
and charity. Some have left us and gone up to other man- 
sions of the Father's house. You will follow them. When 
the hour of your departure comes, may you find on that other 
shore, as I found on landing, friends to cluster lovingly about 
you, and amid the illumination of the upper temple see glow- 
ing with the light of love iox you the words which you have 
emblazoned above my head : ' Welcome home.' 

" Mr. Chairman, my dear brother who has addressed me, 
dear brothers and sisters all, I thank you from my heart of 
hearts for your warm and generous acts and words. You 
know how I feel better than I can tell you." 

The Hon. George W. Clarke, of the Advisory Council, then 
delivered an address, in which he expressed the sentiments of 
the church toward Dr. Deems's son, the Rev. Edward M. 
Deems, who had been acting pastor during his father's absence. 
A generous purse accompanied the address, and Mr. Deems's 
address in response closed the speechmaking. In the beauti- 



THE INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY 3l3 

fully decorated church parlor refreshments were served, and 
the evening was spent in a most delightful social reunion. On 
the following Sunday the church was thronged with people, 
and there was held one of the most tender and impressive of 
communion services. 

With rejuvenated powers of body and mind, and with a 
mental and spiritual horizon widened by his travels. Dr. Deems 
took up his labors in the pulpit, parish, and elsewhere. He 
frequently said that he tried to do some special extra work 
during each decade of his life. This extra professional work 
during the decade ending with 1880 was his book "Jesus." 
And now he took up what proved to be the special fruit of 
the last active decade of his life. The American Institute 
of Christian Philosophy stands beside the Church of the 
Strangers and the book " Jesus " as one of the three greatest 
achievements of his beneficent life. 

Those who would know the complete story of the institute 
must get it from the eleven stately volumes in which are bound 
the numbers of " Christian Thought," which for ten years was 
the institute's organ. 

When Dr. Deems attended the annual meeting of the Vic- 
toria Institute in London in 1880, and saw what a power it 
was as a creator of speech and literature that was calculated 
to be an antidote to the false philosophic literature of the day, 
the question was suggested to his mind, " Why not have such 
a society in the United States, where infidel philosophy finds 
a growing circle of readers? " One of his characteristics was 
promptly to turn thought into action and organization. He 
accordingly arranged for a course of lectures at Warwick 
Woodlands, on the shores of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, and 
secured the attendance of a sufificient number of scholarly men 
to test the desirability and practicability of organizing in our 
country an institute similar in its aims and work to the Victoria 
Institute of Great Britain. 



314 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

In 1 89 1 the institute issued the following paper, which, 
having been revised by Dr. Deems himself, is practically his 
account of the rise and progress of this interesting society. 

"what is the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CHRISTIAN 
PHILOSOPHY? 

" Recently a very intelligent manufacturer asked whether 
there is any organized movement to antagonize materialism 
and other forms of false philosophy. There is, and the fol- 
lowing is an account of its origin and progress : 

" To ascertain whether there was enough interest in the 
subject to justify an attempt to form a society specially de- 
voted to the creation and distribution of a literature illustrating 
the relations between science and religion, in the summer of 
1 88 1, at Warwick Woodlands, on Greenwood Lake, in New 
Jersey, there was delivered a course of lectures, beginning on 
the 1 2th and closing on the 2 2d of July. The following were 
the lecturers : the Rev. Dr. Deems, of the Church of the 
Strangers ; President Noah Porter, of Yale College ; Professor 
Borden P. Bowne, of Boston University ; Professor Stephen 
Alexander and Professor Charles A. Young, of Princeton ; the 
Rev. Dr. A. H. Bradford, of Montclair; Professor Alexander 
Winchell, of the University of Michigan ; the Rev. Dr. Lj'^man 
Abbott, of the ' Christian Union ' ; the Rev. Dr. J. H. Mcll- 
vaine, of Newark, N. J. ; Professor B. N. Martin, of the Uni- 
versity of New York ; and Professor John Bascom, of the 
University of Wisconsin ; in the order of their names. 

" The whole expense of this course, which was liberally 
maintained, was borne by Mr. William O. McDowell, of New 
York. 

" Organized in 1881 

"It was so successful that on the 21st of July a meeting 
was called for the purpose of organizing the American Insti- 



THE INSTITUTE OP rillLOSOPIlV 315 

tute of Christian Philosophy. At its organization the Rev. Dr. 
Deems was elected provisional president, the Rev. Dr. Brad- 
ford provisional secretary, and Mr. William O. McDowell 
provisional treasurer. President McCosh, of Princeton, and 
President Battle, of North Carolina, Bishop Cheney, of Illinois, 
and Bishop McTyeire, of Tennessee, Professor Bascom, of 
Wisconsin, and General G. W. Custis Lee, of Virginia, were 
the first vice-presidents. The first monthly meeting was held 
at Warwick Woodlands on the 28th of August, 1881. The 
second was held on the 29th of September, 1 881, in the parlor 
of the Church of the Strangers, 4 Winthrop Place, New York. 
The officers of that church generously provided an office and 
a place of meeting for the institute from the second monthly 
meeting until November, 1889, when the meetings were held 
for a few months in Association Hall, Twenty-third Street and 
Fourth Avenue. Since June, 1890, they have been held in 
Hamilton Hall, Columbia College. The number of members 
to-day exceeds five hundred, including many of the most dis- 
tinguished thinkers in Europe and America. 

" Papers and Lectures 
" During the first ten years monthly meetings have been 
held regularly except in the summer months. At those meet- 
ings there have been seventy-seven papers read. Two sermons 
have been delivered before the institute in New York, one by 
the late Rt. Rev. Bishop Harris, of the diocese of Michigan, 
on January 18, 1885, in St. Thomas's Church, Fifth Avenue, 
and another by the Rev. James R. Day, D.D., on February 
21, 1886, in the Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Two courses of lectures were delivered in the Broadway Taber- 
nacle Church in the winters of 1882-83 a-^^d 1883-84. 

" Bishop Potter 
" At the delivery of Bishop Harris's sermon Bishop Potter 
presided, and followed the sermon with remarks expressing his 



316 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

interest in the institute and its work and his hearty cooperation 
with it. He thanked the preacher for his admirable address, 
and said that the Institute of Christian Philosophy had been 
organized to get at those fundamental truths which more es- 
pecially concerned society and men. Its members were not 
confined to any denomination, but embraced, in addition to 
various bishops of the Episcopal Church, eminent scholars and 
professors throughout the country. In speaking of what the 
institute is doing, the bishop said that its publications had 
already been sought for by some of the scholars in Japan, who 
were now especially turning their thoughts to the Christian 
religion as the religion of the country. 

" Summer Schools 

" The institute has held fifteen summer schools, the first and 
second at Warwick Woodlands, the third at Atlantic Highlands, 
the fourth, sixth, and eighth at Richfield Springs, the eleventh 
at Round Lake, the seventh at Asbury Park and Key East, 
and the others at Avon-by-the-Sea, N. J. At these schools 
one hundred and seventy-seven lectures have been delivered, 
also four sermons. 

" Colleges Represented 
" These one hundred and seventy-seven lectures have been 
prepared with great care, and many of them by our foremost 
thinkers. The lecturers have represented the following col- 
leges, namely, Bowdoin, City of New York, Columbia, Dickin- 
son, Emory, Hamilton, Lafayette, Rutgers, Smith, St. Stephen's, 
Trinity, and Tufts, and the following universities, namely, Bos- 
ton, Cornell, Harvard, New York, North Carolina, Pennsyl- 
vania, Princeton, Texas, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wisconsin, and 
Yale. In addition to the presidents and professors from these 
colleges, other gentlemen of other learned professions and 
intellectual men in business circles have contributed to the 



THE INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY 317 

literature called forth by the institute, among them the distin- 
guished explorer, Hormuzd Rassam, of England, and the acute 
thinker, Ram Chandra Bose, of India. 

" Chancellor MacCracken 

" These valuable productions of the institute have been issued 

periodically and now constitute eight large octavo volumes, of 
which Dr. MacCracken, vice-chancellor of the University of 
the City of New York and professor of philosophy, says, 
' The lectures and magazines it [the institute] gives each year 
are themselves almost a faculty of graduate philosophy for 
the whole country.' The lectures and other papers and the 
transactions are issued in a bimonthly called ' Christian 
Thought,' a copy of which is sent to all members. It has also 
a large list of subscribers among those who are not members 
of the institute. 

"Ah Endozomefit Fiuid Needed 

" Attention is called to the fact that its officers serve the 
institute without salary. There are no honorary members. 
There are no expenses for rent. No other institute can be 
managed more economically. All the income from member- 
ship fees and other sources is employed in meeting the expenses 
of the monthly meetings and summer schools, which produce 
the papers and lectures, and in printing and distributing this 
literature. There are schools and colleges and mission stations 
making appeals, to which the institute cannot respond. An 
endowment fund has been begun, which now amounts to over 
fifteen thousand dollars. It is wisely invested. The gift of 
one hundred dollars to this fund makes the giver a life-member, 
and he thereafter receives all the publications. One thousand 
dollars will estabhsh a lectureship to bear the donor's name, 
and he may annually nominate the person he wishes to deliver 
the lecture. Thus will be created a fountain of blessing which 



318 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

will continue to flow when those living now shall have passed 
from the work on earth. It is desired to make this fund suf- 
ficiently large and productive to meet all expenses of the 
institute, so that every donation, together with the regular 
membership fees, may be devoted to the distribution of our 
Hterature in all lands. 

" Results Already Accomplished 

"The work of this institute cannot be computed in figures. 
It has made a noble stand against materialism and all other 
forms of false philosophy. It has presented an array of talent 
which shows the world that all the brains are not on the side 
of those who scorn or neglect our holy faith, but that the very 
best intellects of the world, the most competent judges among 
men, are on the side of the truth as it is in Jesus. It has 
strengthened the faith and courage of the young men of col- 
leges, among whom its publications have been distributed. 
A physician who cures many patients can make a resounding 
reputation, while almost none but the most thoughtful place 
proper value on sanitary prevention. Thus the institute has 
not attracted the attention of the masses, and has none of the 
aid which comes to other institutions by reason of the conspic- 
uousness of results. It must therefore appeal for its support 
more to the few who are able to value the solidity of a foun- 
dation than to the many who casually admire the beautiful 
outlines of a structure and the brilliant frescos on its ceilings. 

" Who May Become Metnbers 

"The institute invites to its membership men and women, 
learned and unlearned, who wish by their names and fees to 
aid in its good work. One need not say he resides too far 
from the seat of the institute to take part in its meetings, and 
therefore he does not become a member. He will receive the 
publications containing all its papers and lectures, and by his 



THE INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY 319 

fee help to procure them for his brother who cannot afford such 
a luxury. The institute is in receipt of frequent letters from 
home missionaries, pastors of churches at home and abroad, 
and professors in colleges, whose stipend is so small as to compel 
them reluctantly to forego or to drop membership. If some one 
would send one hundred dollars twenty such names could be 
reinstated. That a man cannot contribute to the production of 
its literature is no more reason for that man's not becoming a 
member of the institute than the fact that he cannot produce 
such writings as the prophecies of Isaiah or the epistles of Paul 
is a reason for his not becoming a member of the American Bible 
Society. The annual fee of five dollars helps to stem the tide 
of infidelity. For further information address Mr. Charles M. 
Davis, Secretarj', 4 Winthrop Place, New York." 

From the time that he had been professor of logic in the 
University of North Carolina and professor of natural science 
in Randolph- Macon College, Virginia, Dr. Deems had taken 
a growing interest in science and philosophy ; and from the day 
of his conversion his interest in Christ and Christianity had 
been increasing. So it was with a large measure of experience 
and ability, as well as with glowing zeal, that Dr. Deems 
nurtured the American Institute of Christian Philosophy, a 
society whose supreme aim was to proclaim and enforce the 
truth that, however much conflict there may be between false 
science and dogmatic theology, there is perfect harmony be- 
tween real science and the religion of Christ and the Bible. 

The executive work of the institute and the correspondence 
involved in making out the annual program of lecturers, to say 
nothing of the work of editing " Christian Thought," added 
much to his regular labors, and were pecuniarily expensive 
rather than remunerative to him. But it was a labor of love 
with him, and he received much practical help from his faith- 
ful amanuensis, Miss Cecile Sturtevant, and from the Rev. 



320 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Amory H. Bradford, D.D., Secretary Charles M. Davis, As- 
sociate Secretary the Rev. John B. Devins, and others. Dur- 
ing Dr. Deems's illness the Rev. J. B. Devins had the entire 
charge of editing " Christian Thought," and otherwise reheved 
the president of anxiety in regard to the institute. 

Through the efforts of Dr. Deems and the generosity of Mr. 
Cornelius Vanderbilt and others, an endowment fund for the 
institute was started, which at the time of Dr. Deems's death 
amounted to over fifteen thousand dollars. The last two 
summer schools during his life were held at Prohibition Park, 
Staten Island. During the last summer school, held in August, 
1893, Dr. Deems, for the first time since the institute was 
founded, was absent; but in spirit he was present. As his 
son Edward was about to start for the grounds. Dr. Deems 
with extreme difficulty managed to send this message : 

"Tell the officers and members of the American Institute 
of Christian Philosophy at the summer school that in spirit I 
will be with them promptly at every meeting of the session ; 
that I am working for them daily by striving to secure mem- 
bers for the institute and subscribers for ' Christian Thought,' 
and by sending out the circulars which tell of the objects and 
work of this institute. My hands, in the providence of God, 
are tied. Tell them," he said distinctly, " tell the officers and 
members to select another president, an active president, and 
to work more ; tell officers and members to 7vork morey 

When the good president passed away it was realized how 
difficult a task it would be to fill his place. The Rev. Dr. 
Amory H. Bradford was persuaded to accept the presidency 
for one year. Then Henry M. MacCracken, D.D., LL.D., 
chancellor of the University of New York, was made president. 
The summer schools of 1 894 and 1 89 5 were held at Chautauqua 
Lake. But the future of the institute became more and more 
problematic. About this time, however, a letter from Dr. 
Deems, found among his effects after his decease, was brought 



THE INSTITUTE OE TIIILOSOPHY 321 

to light and materially helped the officers of the institute to 
shape its future course. This letter was directed to Charles 
M. Davis, so many years tlie institute's faithful secretary, Dr. 
Alexander Mackay-Smith, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the Rev. 
Edward M. Deems. It reads as follows: 

" Mv Friends and Brothers : I prepare a paper which 
you will not see until my eyes are closed in death. The fact 
that it is addressed to you shows my confidence in your 
brotherly affection, discreet judgment, and Christian faith. 

" More than most other men, you know what has been in 
my heart in all the work I have bestowed upon the American 
Institute of Christian Philosophy. I know nothing in this 
world can run on in the same courses forever. It may be- 
come expedient that the machinery for doing our work may 
have to be altered, that the time may come when something 
must be substituted for the monthly meetings and the annual 
summer schools of the institute. It may be that a course of 
lectures delivered each year by some able man may be the 
institute's contribution to our most holy faith. I have seen 
the folly of the attempt of men to stretch their hands from 
out their graves to push back the inevitable or to preserve 
unaltered something which, however good for its time, could 
not be useful for all time. 

" I simply want to say that if you survive me I do not wish 
for a single moment that any sentimental regard for plans 
which I have formed and prosecuted shall keep you from 
making such aherations in the work of the institute as shall be 
adapted to the time. My sole desire is that any moneys which 
I have collected and any prestige which I have created for 
the institute shall be wisely used to promote the knowledge of 
' the truth as it is in Jesus,' in ways best adapted to that end, 
from time to time. 

" Perhaps this letter is an impertinent assumption. It will 



322 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Stand, however, as a slight testimonial of my great respect and 
unfeigned affection for you, who have been my helpers in this 
department of my work for the divine Master. 

" Charles F. Deems." 

No one can read this document, written in April, 1892, 
eight months before he was paralyzed, without being struck 
by the sweetness of spirit and breadth and profundity of judg- 
ment of its author. Helped to a decision by this letter, the 
institute took steps which resulted in the fifteen-thousand-dollar 
endowment fund being given to the University of the City of 
New York, to establish a " Deems Lectureship of Philosophy." 
And this lectureship is the fruit of Dr. Deems's prayers and 
toils as founder and president of the American Institute of 
Christian Philosophy. 



CHAPTER XIV 

BEARING MUCH FRUIT, 1881-93 

THE stoty of the twelve years of Dr. Deems's life from 
1880 to 1892 may be summed up in one word, tvork. 
" Never hasting, never resting," Goethe's motto, would have 
been a most appropriate motto for Dr. Deems at this period. 
His legitimate work as a preacher and pastor received the 
most and the best of his time, brains, and toil ; what was left 
of time and energy he gave to his duties as president of the 
American Institute of Christian Philosophy, editor of " Chris- 
tian Thought," trustee of the American Tract Society, member 
of the council of the University of the City of New York, 
member of the executive committee of the Evangehcal Alliance 
in the United States, lecturer, writer for periodicals, and author 
of several books. He lived before and for the public, an 
entry in his journal for January 28, 1886, being significant: 
" In the house all the evening. Wonderful! " 

His native wit and keen sense of the ludicrous, combined 
with a hopeful disposition and a childlike trust in God, saved 
him from breaking down earlier than he did under the strain 
to which he subjected himself. The Rev. Dr. Howard Crosby 
and he, in conversation one day, agreed that the reason why 
they stood up under the strain of the intense life of a New 
York City pastor, while others broke down or died, was that 
they worked without worry ; that it is worry, not work, that 
kills most active men. 

323 



324 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Speaking of Dr. Crosby, whom Dr. Deems admired and 
loved, suggests one of the sunny features of these last years 
of the latter's Hfe ; we refer to the Philothean Club, a circle 
of ministers, who met at the homes of the members every 
Saturday afternoon, and, after business and the discussion of 
a paper, enjoyed a feast of reason and a flow of soul around 
the dinner-table. Strong friendships were here formed and 
old friendships were strengthened. Nor is this to be wondered 
at when it is remembered that among the members of " Philo " 
were such men as Crosby, Robinson, Watkins, Bridgman, 
Page, Sabine, Warren, Mandeville, Payson, Martyn, Schaufifler, 
Virgin, Bevan, Roe, Gregg, and Sanders. The meetings of 
Philo were used as a clearing-house for the ludicrous experi- 
ences and the good jests and jokes of its members. It was 
after one of these meetings that Dr. Deems came home and 
said that Dr. Crosby had slandered him by accusing him of 
"taking up collections at funerals." Doubtless Dr. Deems 
had a ready reply, for he was gifted in repartee. 

We recall a few of his bright sayings with which, for himself 
and others, he used to beguile life's way of its tedium. 

A lady who was brought through a season of great despon- 
dency and grief by his sympathy, prayers, counsel, and practi- 
cal aid said to him a few years afterward, " Doctor, do you 
remember how I used to wish I was dead?" With a look 
very different from the words, he flashed back, "Yes, and 
everybody else wished so too." 

At a marriage ceremony which he was conducting the rats 
in the ceiling kept up a most annoying accompaniment. When 
some one spoke of it afterward he said, " Yes, I noticed the 
marriage was being ratified on earth." 

Once, after being absent from the city, an intimate friend 
called on him, and was received with these words : " Now 
come, tell me where you have been these ten days." " Well, 
doctor," was the reply, " I have been to Stonington, and it 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 325 

rained every day while I was there! " "Ah," said he, his eyes 
twinkhng with fun, "that was your reign in Stonington!" 

In the midst of an eloquent temperance speech he was once 
interrupted by some one putting the question, " But suppose 
we can't elect the best man? " The answer was flashed back 
without a second's hesitation, " I am not required to elect, but 
to vote for, the best man." 

As a raconteur few men of his day could surpass him, and 
his journal shows in what demand he was as an after-dinner 
speaker at alumni, club, and other banquets. When he told 
a story it was evident that no one enjoyed it more than he. 
His lively imagination and inventive talent led him to embellish 
and improve on the stories he had read or heard ; and when 
his family or friends would twit him on having changed his 
story he would invariably reply, " It is one of the fundamental 
rules for telling a story never to tell it in the same way twice." 

It was largely on account of his cheerfulness and wit that 
he made friends so quickly with children and young people, 
and, indeed, with everybody whom he met who was not im- 
pervious to sunshine. In the New York Hotel, where with 
his good wife he hved from March 30, 1889, until he was 
stricken with paralysis, December 27, 1892, it was a common 
saying that everybody loved Dr. Deems, from the boot-black 
in the basement up to the proprietor. 

His love for young people found, shortly after his return 
from the Holy Land, a worthy object. On February 2, 1881, 
a wave of youthful devotion started in Maine and rolled west- 
ward. He saw it coming, and when it reached him mounted 
its crest and rode it until the Everlasting Arm reached down 
and under him and lifted him to glory ineffable and unending. 
Dr. Deems loved and was beloved by the Young People's 
Society of Christian Endeavor. The young people of his 
parish and of the land appreciated his affection for them and 
his aid to their cause. Many more invitations than he could 



326 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

respond to were extended to him to address societies and local 
and national conventions of the Young People's Society of 
Christian Endeavor. 

Dr. Deems derived especial pleasure from his visit to 
the international convention of the Young People's Society 
of Christian Endeavor held at Minneapohs, Minn. With a 
train-load of delegates, he was delayed nearly two days en 
route. In the entry in his journal for July 9, 1 891, he writes: 
" Great delay. We should be in Minneapolis, and here we 
are a day away. But the company are behaving beautifully 
and we are a happy band of Christians." At the railway 
station at Durand the Endeavorers alighted from the train 
and joined enthusiastically in an open-air meeting that was 
being held by the Salvation Army. Being called upon to 
address the meeting, Dr. Deems gave all his powers free play 
and made the scene one long to be remembered as a little 
foretaste of heaven. 

With his passion for improving opportunities and organizing 
forces, Dr. Deems led in the formation on the train of what 
is known among Christian Endeavorers as the " Soo Tribe," 
because organized while traveling on the "Soo" (Sault Ste. 
Marie) route to Minneapohs. The Soos were wonderfully 
drawn together and to their "chief" by the experiences of 
this memorable trip, and still maintain a happy esprit de corps. 

When the great Young People's Society of Christian En- 
deavor international convention was held in New York City, 
July 7, 1892, Dr. Deems was greatly gratified by being chosen 
to deliver the address of welcome on behalf of the pastors of 
New York City. In his address, after giving in complimen- 
tary terms his estimate of the body of men he represented, he 
expressed his opinion of the institution represented by the 
magnificent assemblage in Madison Square Garden, which 
numbered between fifteen and twenty thousand people. Dr. 
Deems's opinion of the Young People's Society of Christian 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 327 

Endeavor as expressed on this occasion lies in this sentence 
uttered by him : " The spirit of this society, more than any 
other found on earth in this nineteenth century, reminds one 
of Christ's Christianity." Dr. Deems wrote for the Endea- 
vorers the following stirring hymn, which was sung at this 
convention by the vast chorus of youthful voices to the tune 
of "The Star-spangled Banner." There is something won- 
derfully stirring in this shout of the spiritual warrior within a 
few months of his being stricken down in the midst of the 
battle. 

"the banner of JESUS 

" See, see, comrades! see, floating high in the air, 

The love-woven, blood-sprinkled banner of Jesus! 
The symbol of hope, beating down all despair, 
From sin and its thraldom triumphantly frees us. 
By the hand that was pierced 
It was lifted at first. 
When the bars of the grave by our Captain were burst. 

Refrain : 
" That blood-sprinkled banner must yet be unfurled 

O'er the homes of all men and the thrones of the world. 

" Shout, shout, comrades! shout, that our Captain and Lord 
That standard of hope first intrusted to woman ; 
And Mary, dear saint, in obeying his word 

Flung out its wide folds over all that is human : 
So there came to embrace 
That sweet ensign of grace 
All the true and the great, all the best of our race. 

" March, march, comrades! march, all the young, all the old, 
The army of Christ and of Christian Endeavor ; 
With heroes our souls having now been enrolled, 
Our banner we'll follow for ever and ever. 
For our march shall not cease 
Till the gospel of peace 
Shall our race in all lands from its tyrant release." 



328 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

While lending a helping hand to other good causes during 
the last and best years of his life, Dr. Deems never lost sight 
of nor neglected that cause which, as we have seen, drew out 
his first public efforts as a writer for the press— the cause of 
temperance. Temperance never had a more loyal friend than 
Dr. Deems. When the angel of death came in November, 
1893, and announced to him that at the close of the seventy- 
third year of his life God had promoted him to the higher 
experiences and activities of heaven, it found him, by tongue 
and pen, by preaching, praying, voting, and every other means, 
doing all that he could to destroy that remorseless enemy of 
society, the liquor traffic, and thus to glorify God by saving 
souls from the drunkard's ruinous career and destiny. 

Devotion to the cause of temperance, although more con- 
spicuous in his riper years of life, was no late fancy nor passing 
whim. His first survey of human society, taken as it was 
through the atmosphere of a Christian home, made his heart 
ache over men's sufferings from strong drink, and made his 
whole soul indignant at that fatuity of human society and 
government which tolerates in Christendom, in the nineteenth 
century, a habit and a traffic so inimical to God and so bitterly 
hostile to all the interests of mankind. 

Referring to Dr. Deems's autobiographical notes, the reader 
may see that while only thirteen years of age he delivered at 
Elk Ridge, and elsewhere in Maryland, temperance addresses. 
Let the children who may read these pages learn how early 
one may begin to help in this good work ; and let parents, as 
they note how this child was formed to temperance ideas 
and habits by his parents, learn how much more hope of suc- 
cess lies, for the friends of temperance, in formatioti than in 
reformation. Grateful to godly parents for what they had 
done for him in this direction, Dr. Deems to the end of his 
career, while favoring the reformation of drunkards by every 
possible means, yet emphasized the formation of temperance 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 329 

ideas and habits, and for this formation trusted in part to 
education at home and at school, but chiefly to the regenerat- 
ing and sanctifying power of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Referring again to his autobiographical notes, the reader 
may find that in 1852, in the vigor of his young manhood, he 
was still an enthusiastic but practical worker for the temper- 
ance cause ; for in that year he started and edited the " Ballot- 
box," one of the first organs, if not the very first organ, of 
those who believe in legislation as a help to the solution of the 
liquor problem. In 1852, also, Dr. Deems inaugurated a 
movement which resulted in a memorial going to the legisla- 
ture of North Carolina on the subject of the legal prohibition 
of the liquor traffic, signed by over fifteen thousand people. 
Now, when we remember that it was not until two years later, 
namely, in 1854, that in the State of Maine prohibitory laws 
against the liquor traffic went into effect, we see that Dr. 
Deems is worthy to be remembered as one of the pw?ieers of 
the legal prohibition movement. And the longer he lived and 
studied this problem, and the more closely he came in touch 
with the practical effects of alcoholic stimulants, the deeper 
grew his convictions, the more frequent and eloquent his ap- 
peals, and the more persistent and practical his efforts, to 
abolish, first, indeed, by moral suasion, but also by legal sua- 
sion, that most successful enemy of God and human hearts 
and homes, the accursed liquor business. 

During the last ten years of his life Dr. Deems, from being 
an independent voter, became a voter Avith the Prohibition 
party. But he did not regard that party as perfect or worthy 
of a blind following, frequently saying, " I will, other things 
being equal, vote with any party which has in its platform a 
plank favoring the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of 
liquor for use as a beverage." Dr. Deems, in joining the 
Prohibition party, gave in an article written for the " Voice " 
this reason for taking the step : " Heretofore I have belonged 



330 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

to no party, voting for Republican or Democrat according to 
the character of the candidates when I have voted at all. Now 
I am a Prohibitionist simply and solely because I see no other 
way of destroying the saloons which are destroying our people 
— no other way except by a revolution and bloodshed, and 
this I deprecate ; but the saloons must be swept away.'' 

Of course Dr. Deems's wisdom and eloquence made him to 
be much in demand as a temperance orator, and his journal 
is full of records of temperance addresses delivered in various 
parts of the Union during the last ten years of his life. In an 
address on temperance which he delivered on several occasions 
he dealt with the liquor question, first, as of universal interest ; 
secondly, as a question of political economy transcending in 
importance civil-service reform, ballot protection, the tariff, 
and other great questions receiving at the time attention in 
America ; thirdly, with reference to the character of the men 
engaged as being unchristian, dishonest (because dealing in 
adulterated goods), and defiers of the law ; and fourthly, he 
put the question, What is to be done? Then he gave the two 
answers: (i) Regulate and restrict the liquor traffic by high- 
license laws. (2) Prohibit the traffic. The latter course he 
favored as the true course, whether it succeeded or not, be- 
cause it has these advantages: (i) It will withhold sanction 
of a wicked traffic. (2) It will discountenance that traffic. (3) 
It will educate the people. (4) It will give moral dignity to 
the nation. The objections raised are equally applicable to 
the decalogue, which never has been enforced. The address 
was closed substantially as follows : 

"There was once an old Roman senator who was accus- 
tomed to conclude every speech he made in the senate with 
these words: 'Carthago delenda est!'— ' Carthage must be 
destroyed! ' He knew that so long as Carthage existed Rome 
would have woe. For the new party I would have the watch- 
word, 'Caupona delenda est!'— 'The saloon must be de- 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 331 

stroyed ! ' and I would set aside every other issue until the 
country did see the saloon destroyed." 

On the evening of October 3, 1887, there assembled in the 
Church of the Strangers a notable gathering. It had been 
called together by the officers of the church, and its object 
was to celebrate the close of twenty-one years of pastorate of 
Dr. Deems. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Armitage, D.D., LL.D. 
(Baptist), presided, and the vice-presidents were his honor 
the mayor, Abram S. Hewitt, Esq., William E. Dodge, 
Esq., Ex. Norton, Esq., R. R. McBurney, Esq., Hon. 
Stewart L. Woodford, Hon. Thomas F. Bayard, John H. 
Inman, Esq., Hon. O. B. Potter, Hon. Roger A. Pryor, Hon. 
Algernon S. Sullivan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Esq., General 
Clinton B. Fisk, James Talcott, Esq. The vice-presidents 
were either present and spoke in the course of the evening, 
or else sent letters of warmest congratulation and commenda- 
tion for Dr. Deems and his work. Addresses breathing the 
sincere spirit of brotherly love and expressive of appreciation 
of Dr. Deems's gifts and labors were made by the Rev. Drs. 
Armitage (Baptist), Philip SchaiT (Presbyterian), Mackay-Smith 
(Protestant Episcopal), William M. Taylor (Congregationalist), 
John M. Reid (Methodist Episcopal), William Ormiston (Re- 
formed Dutch), Wilbur F. Watkins (Protestant Episcopal), 
Howard Crosby (Presbyterian), and Gustav Gottheil (rabbi, 
Temple Emanu-El). At the opening of the services the Scrip- 
tures were read by Vice-Chancellor Henry M. MacCracken 
(now chancellor), of the University of New York, and prayer 
was offered by the Rev. John Hall, D.D., pastor of the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church, The names of those who took 
part in this service are an eloquent tribute both to Dr. Deems's 
catholicity of spirit and to his ability and success as a pastor 
and preacher. 

A fehcitous reply by Dr. Deems followed, in which, with 
evident emotion, he thanked his brethren, and toward the 



332 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

close of which he said : " Now, all I can say in conclusion is 
that you have put me under bonds to be good, and I will 
strive to be. Having tried to be modest for two or three 
hours, — and modesty is only one characteristic of goodness, — 
and having found it so hard, I am afraid that I shall find it 
extremely difficult to come up to the standard set to-night. 
I will endeavor to do my best. I do not suppose that I shall 
be any taller next Sunday when I come to this pulpit. Cer- 
tainly I shall not stand on a stool, as has been suggested by a 
gifted brother. I am not in the habit of standing on anything 
to make me taller." 

Busy as he was during his last years in the pulpit and pas- 
torate and on the platform. Dr. Deems found time for much 
literary work, as he wrote for periodicals and published three 
new books. 

In January, 1881, appeared the first number of the " Chris- 
tian Worker," an eight-page illustrated religious paper. It was 
and still is the organ of the Church of the Strangers. Mrs. 
Sara Keables Hunt, a devoted and valued member of the 
Church of the Strangers, was appointed editor, and still holds 
that position, which she has filled with ability, making the 
" Christian Worker " one of the best fruits of the church. In 
it appeared not only Dr. Deems's monthly report of his work 
as pastor, but also many articles from his pen. 

As president of the American Institute of Christian Philos- 
ophy and editor of " Christian Thought " he wrote a number 
of articles along the line of the harmony of science and religion. 
Several books written by Dr. Deems were published during 
this period. " The Deems Birthday Book," arranged by Sara 
Keables Hunt, contains about five hundred brief extracts culled 
from the best of Dr. Deems's writings. It was published in 
1882. In 1885 a new edition of his sermons was published. 
In 1887 "A Romance of Providence, being a History of the 
Church of the Strangers," appeared. It was edited by Mr. 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 333 

Joseph S. Taylor, but involved no inconsiderable amount of 
work on Dr. Deems's part, " The Gospel of Common Sense 
as Contained in the Canonical Epistle of James," a volume of 
three hundred and twenty-two pages, was published in 1888. 
This work was followed up in 1891 by a companion book 
entitled, " The Gospel of Spiritual Insight, being Studies in 
the Gospel of John." Both these works received high en- 
comiums from the press of America and Great Britain, 

" Chips and Chunks for Every Fireside," a handsome illus- 
trated volume of six hundred and forty pages, was published 
as a subscription book in 1890. It contained not so much new 
matter as a careful selection and orderly arrangement of articles, 
essays, and booklets, not including sermons, which Dr. Deems 
had in preceding years given to the public. It was meant to 
be, as the author puts it in his preface, " a book for homes." 

The introduction to " Chips and Chunks " was written by 
Dr. Chauncey M. Depew, and we insert it here as being an 
estimate of Dr. Deems by an able, practical, and successful 
business man : 

" In dictating an introduction to this work I am actuated 
by two motives— personal friendship for the author and ad- 
miration for his book. 

" The work has been lying upon my desk for several weeks, 
and I have taken it up at various times, dipping into it here 
and there, as a busy man naturally would. I have been im- 
pressed with the wide range of Dr. Deems's studies, the 
breadth of his sympathies, and his wise way of putting things. 

" The doctor has been a man of great activity and a multi- 
farious author ; but while with most authors their utterances 
are purely ephemeral, the doctor manages to put into every 
article from his pen something worth preserving. It is well 
known that Dr. Deems had the confidence of Commodore 
Vanderbilt, whose practical judgment was probably keener 



334 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

and more accurate than that of any other man who ever Uved 
in this country, and upon the doctor's advice the commodore 
spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for beneficent objects. 
"The quahties which impressed Dr. Deems upon Commo- 
dore Vanderbilt and also upon his son, WilHam H., are every- 
where evident in this book— honesty of purpose, a clear con- 
ception of the object in view, lucidity of statement, and wisdom 
of suggestion. I am sure that this work will be found of value 
in the home circle, both to the old and to the young. 

" Chauncey M. Depew," 

In March, 1892, the "Evening World" offered a prize of 
twenty dollars in gold for the best article on " How to Manage 
a Wife." Dr. Deems appeared as happy as a boy prize-winner 
at school when he was informed that he had won the prize. 
His article was as follows : 

"Manage? What is that? Does it mean to control? 
We manage a horse. We use our superior human intellect to 
control and guide his superior physical strength so as to obtain 
the best results. But a wife is not a horse. When two persons 
are well married the wife is as superior to her husband in many 
respects as he is superior to her in others. If happiness is to 
be the result of the union the first business of the husband is 
to manage himself so as to keep himself always the wife's 
respectful friend, always her tender lover, always her equal 
partner, always her superior protector. This will necessarily 
stimulate his wife to be always his admiring friend, always his 
aflfectionate sweetheart, always his thrifty housewife, always 
his confiding ward. And this will so react upon the husband 
that his love for his wife will grow so as to make it easy for 
him, with all his faults, to bear with all the infirmities of his 

' one and only ' wife. 

"A Joiner." 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 335 

In the spring of 1892 Dr. Deems copyrighted the last book 
he ever pubhshed, " My Septuagint." In this volume of two 
hundred and eight pages, daintily bound in white and gold, 
Dr. Deems writes this brief preface : "The name of this book 
suggested itself to my mind because what it contains has been 
written since the seventieth anniversary of my birthday. That 
is all." The volume is inscribed, " To the memory of the 
seventy men, all departed this life, personal contact with whom 
now seems to have been most influential for good in the forma- 
tion of my character and the furtherance of my career." Then 
follow the names — a notable list of good and great men who 
hved in America and Europe. " At Seventy-one," " The 
Present Outlook in Theology," "George Washington," "Ad- 
dress of Welcome to the Young People's Society of Christian 
Endeavor," and " Mr. Markham's Dream " (a temperance 
allegory) are the titles of some of the chapters. Several new 
hymns appeared in the volume. One we insert as being 
prophetic : 

" THE LIGHT IS AT THE END 

" At the thought of love eternal 

Time began its course in night; 
'Twas the evening and the morning, 
First the darkness, then the light. 
Let us not grow weary watching 
In the shadows God may send ; 
Darkness cannot last forever, 

And the light is at the end. 
Refrain : 
Go bravely through the darkness, 
For the light is at the end. 

" On the paths we now are walking 
Our great Master's feet have trod; 
And each weary, faltering footstep 
Brings us nearer to our God. 



336 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Then in passing through the valley, 

When the shadows o'er us bend, 
Let us keep our courage steady. 

For the light is at the end. 

" We shall soon be called to travel 

Through the vale of death's dark shade; 
But we know who will be with us. 

And we shall not be afraid. 
We shall cheer the way with music, 
- Walking with our Saviour-Friend, 
Leaning on his staff, and gazing 
At the light that's at the end." 

Probably the most interesting chapter in " My Septuagint " 
is the first, in which Dr. Deems wrote, among other things : 
" I sit in my study and talk to my heart and dictate these lines, 
and feel that I am approaching the experience of the Apostle 
Paul : ' For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' . . . Being 
assured of the immortality of my spirit because of my spiritual 
alliance with him, I have ceased to pray to be delivered from 
sudden death, which may be a blessing." It was but a few 
short months after penning these words that, one day, in his 
study— it was December i6, 1892— his pen dropped from the 
hand which had guided it so patiently, so industriously, so 
effectively, for so many years. 

He did not appear to be alarmed, but his family and friends 
were. It was hoped, however, that it was only "writers' 
cramp" and that a season of rest would make all right. 
Everything was done to shield and save him. But he insisted 
on preaching once on Sunday, December 1 8th. In the morn- 
ing the Rev. Dr. Heidt preached, and in the evening, sitting 
in the pulpit chair, a picture never to be forgotten by those who 
saw him, Dr. Deems preached to his people from Colossians 
iii. 16: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all 
wisdom." It was his last word to men from the pulpit.* 
* See Appendix L 



BEARING MUCH FRUIT 337 

In view of the paralytic stroke which fell upon him ten days 
later, how pathetic the following letter to his people, read from 
the pulpit and published in the " Christian Worker " ! 

" (Dictated.) 

" Christmas, 1892. 

" My dear People : I seem to have reached another sta- 
tion where I must rest. Such is the verdict of my consulting 
physicians, and they lay great emphasis on the must. 

" I am glad that I was permitted last Sunday night to talk 
to you awhile on that blessed passage of Holy Scripture, ' Let 
the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.' I leave 
that with you while I go away to rest awhile. 

" I rejoice to know that already such beloved servants of 
God as Dr. Schauffler, Professor Hamilton, Edward M. Deems, 
and John Paul Egbert have consented to serve you. You will 
serve the interest of our beloved Church of the Strangers in 
proportion as you love it. I have no more to ask. 

" I know that you will remember me in your prayers ; and 
you know that I will return to my pulpit just as soon as I 
believe it right to give myself the dear delight of preaching to 
you the gospel of our blessed God, to whom be glory for ever 
and ever. Amen! 

" AfTectionately yours, 

" Charles F. Deems." 

And this paragraph, with which he closes his monthly report 
to his church : 

"This report was kindly written for me by another hand 
from my notes and journal. Since Friday, i6th inst., I have 
been unable to sign my name. I have left the church affairs 
in the hands of its dear officers, who have been always so 
faithful. I go aside awhile to rest. My soul is in perfect 



338 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

peace, because I know whom I have believed, and am per- 
suaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed 
unto him until that day. 

" Affectionately and faithfully your pastor, 
" Charles F. Deems." 



CHAPTER XV 



EUTHANASIA 



DR. Deems's life during the year 1892 was intense, labori- 
ous, and fruitful. Looking back upon him in his work 
at this time, he reminds us of a man in a race, who, as he 
realizes that he is near the goal, by a supreme effort brings to 
the front all his latent powers. His records show that from 
January to December, 1892, he deUvered in the form of ser- 
mons, lectures, or addresses one hundred and eighty-nine 
discourses. This involved visiting seven different States in 
various sections of the Union. Into each and all of these 
discourses he flung glowing enthusiasm, blended with the 
wisdom which comes from long study of books and men. An 
illustration of the strain to which he subjected himself in 1892 
is his visit to Silver Lake Assembly, in western New York, 
where he delivered to vast congregations eight powerful dis- 
courses within four days. 

While engaged in public speaking he kept up also his work 
as pastor, president of the American Institute of Christian 
Philosophy, and member or officer of various societies, com- 
mittees, and institutions. In February his mind was greatly 
exercised by the question of the wisdom of removing the 
Church of the Strangers to some more favorable position. It 
was finally decided to drop the consideration of that matter 
for a time. In March his lifelong and beloved friend, Robert 

339 



340 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

S. Moran, D.D., died, and Dr. Deems was one of the speakers 
at his funeral in Wilmington, N. C. In August General James 
Lorimer Graham died, and in October Mrs. Graham passed 
away. By the death of these three friends, the best of about 
his own age he had in all the world, he was indeed bereft. 

In July, 1892, the eleventh annual international convention 
of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor was held 
in Madison Square Garden, New York City, and Dr. Deems 
made a host of friends by his eloquent address of welcome. 

On August 15th, while traveling with his wife in Canada, 
his nerves were subjected to a great shock by a thrilling ex- 
perience on the St. Lawrence River. Mrs. Deems, in a letter 
written to her daughter, Mrs. Egbert, said : 

" Your father and mother have made the narrowest escape 
of their lives, having just missed being dashed to pieces in the 
rapids. We left Alexandria Bay on the new steamer, ' Colum- 
bian,' a week ago last Monday, bound for Montreal, which we 
expected to reach that evening about seven o'clock. We had 
a perfect day, and everything went well until, between three 
and four o'clock in the afternoon, the rope connecting with 
the steering-gear suddenly broke, and then the hand steering- 
gear, the only other hope of saving the steamer, also broke. 
And all this happened while we were in the midst of the Cedar 
Rapids. But a merciful Providence directed us to a small 
island, where we were stranded on the rocks around it, about 
thirty feet from the island. 

" As the steamer crashed upon the rocks I thought we were 
gone ; and as father met me his exclamation was, ' Well, ma, 
let us thank God that we are together, whatever befalls ! ' and 
he looked so as though he thought our doom was imminent 
that I could think of nothing but a watery grave. But our 
brave crew went to work vigorously, and word was gotten to 
a small village not far off in Canada, Vaudreuil, and the boat- 
men came rowing over the rapids to the reUef of the passengers. 



EUTHANASIA 341 

"Trees were then cut down off this thickly wooded Httle 
island and with wonderful ingenuity contrived into a bridge 
from the steamer to the island. Then the steamer was securely 
moored by means of many strong ropes, for had we drifted off 
there seemed no hope but that we would have been plunged 
right into the most fearful of the rapids. Well, they succeeded 
in taking about half the passengers over before dark, having to 
row them from island to island over that swift current, the 
passengers (about one hundred of them) walking across the 
three islands before reaching the mainland of Canada. Father 
and I remained on the stranded steamer, preferring, with one 
hundred others, to remain on board until the next morning, 
after having been assured that there was no possibility of being 
carried off the rocks in the night. 

" A religious service of thanksgiving was held on the boat 
at night, and it was a most interesting occasion. The next 
morning, Tuesday, all who had remained on the steamer were 
carried off ; but I can assure you, dear daughter, that it was 
not without fear and trembling that your timid little mother 
committed herself to the rushing water in the small boat. But 
a merciful Father was better to us than all our fears, and we 
reached Montreal in safety at 2 p.m." 

The remaining months of 1892 were marked by experiences 
and labors similar to those referred to already, only, if possi- 
ble, they were even more intense and fruitful. 

Is it to be wondered at that Dr. Deems's powers of endur- 
ance at last broke down under the strain? Although for ten 
days after his last sermon, delivered Sunday evening, Decem- 
ber 1 8th, and referred to in the preceding chapter, Dr. Deems 
was able to go to his meals at the New York Hotel and attend 
to a little business, such as dictating letters, church reports, etc., 
yet his right side continued to lose feeling and motion. The 
crisis finally came Wednesday evening, December 28th. He 
and his wife were sitting quietly in their room at the hotel, 



342 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

reading and talking, when suddenly he lost all power of speech 
and all control of his right side. The stroke had come. 

Mrs. Deems quickly called in friends in the hotel, Dr. Deems 
was helped to bed, a physician was promptly summoned, and 
everything possible done. But it was all of no avail. He was 
never to walk or talk naturally again. Thursday morning the 
Rev. Edward M. Deems arrived from Hornellsville, whence 
he had fortunately started the evening before, expecting to find 
his father resting comfortably. Other members of the family 
promptly arrived, as did also the family physician, Dr. Egbert 
Le Fevre, Dr. Deems had not lost consciousness, and through- 
out his eleven months' illness, with the exception of half the 
first day after the stroke, his mental faculties appeared to be 
almost as clear as they had ever been. 

After a hurried consultation it was decided to move the patient 
iiimediately to No. 131 West Ninety-fifth Street, where resided 
Mr. Marion J. Verdery, Dr. Deems's son-in-law. Accordingly 
he was dressed and seated in a light, strong, straight-backed 
chair, in which his son Edward and Dr. Le Fevre bore him 
carefully to the elevator and thence to a carriage. It was a 
long drive from Waverly Place (Seventh Street) and Broadway 
to West Ninety-fifth Str; et, but the most smoothly paved streets 
and avenues were followed, and he stood the trip wonderfully 
well. From time to time he looked out of the carriage windows 
with a dazed expression, but appeared to be in no pain. After- 
ward he gave the family to understand that he had no recol- 
lection whatever of the journey from the hotel to the house. 

Two excellent trained nurses, Mr. Moore and Mr. Olmsted, 
were secured, one for the day and one for the night. These 
men were with Dr. Deems most of the time until the end, and 
he became very much attached to them. At first his condi- 
tion improved slowly but steadily. A few visitors were per- 
mitted to see him each day, and he kept up his cheerfulness 
wonderfully. He made a few attempts to write with his left 



EUTHANASIA S43 

hand, but that was soon abandoned as subjecting him to too 
much mental strain. Then a few of the words in more common 
use were written plainly on a piece of Bristol-board, in order that 
he might point to them and thus make known his ideas. But 
this well-meant effort also proved to be of but httle practical 
use. However, the family and the nurses soon came to un- 
derstand quite readily his wants and what he was trying to say. 
He could usually utter the main words in a sentence, leaving 
the listener to supply the others, always rewarding a quick 
diviner of his thought with a smile of delight. But it would 
be difficult to imagine a more pathetic sight than the silent, 
helpless figure of this man who for sixty years had been dis- 
tinguished for eloquent speech and energetic action. At first 
it was apparent that he was engaged in a terrific mental and 
spiritual battle, but it was soon equally evident that he had won 
the day. Then patience and cheerfulness were his to the end. 
Dr. Deems's many friends came forward nobly and cared 
for the church and the Institute of Philosophy. His recrea- 
tions during his illness consisted in seeing his friends and in 
listening to reading, his wife generally being the reader. He 
had the newspapers and magazines read to him and went 
through several works of fiction. But no other reading was 
permitted to interfere with that of the Word of God and his 
devotional books. The letters which came to him from sym- 
pathizing friends in all parts of the land proved to be to him 
a source of great comfort. His inability to attend church 
services was a sore trial to him, and one day, as the family 
started for the Church of the Strangers, he broke down com- 
pletely and wept. But he sent messages to the church, and 
early in the year 1893 established his custom of selecting and 
sending a verse from the Scriptures to be read from the pulpit 
of the Church of the Strangers as a message from the absent 
pastor. One of the last he sent was prophetic : " At evening 
time it shall behght" (Zech. xiv. 7). 



344 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

During the first three months of 1893, as has been intimated, 
Dr. Deems appeared to gain in strength a Uttle, notwithstand- 
ing some trouble from indigestion. In February he could, 
with the aid of the nurse, walk across the room. On Febru- 
ary 17th the family, while waiting for the new home in West 
Seventy-sixth Street into which Mr. Verdery had decided to 
move, went into a commodious home at No. 5 1 7 West End Ave- 
nue. March and April were comparatively good months for 
Dr. Deems. It was while living on West End Avenue that he 
uttered the complete sentence which came to be known among 
many of his friends as " Dr. Deems's Easter sermon." Mr. 
Franklin Putnam, an officer of the Church of the Strangers 
and a loyal friend, wrote for the " Christian Worker " an ac- 
count of this interesting episode, and the following extract 
we are sure will be appreciated by the readers of this 
memoir : 

" You will remember that it was a lovely and charming day 
throughout, following in after many tedious stormy days ; it 
had a beneficent effect on every one, sick or well. It was 
about 4 P.M. when I called, and it happened everything was 
favorable, so that I was ushered into the presence of Dr. 
Deems at once. Having heard how sick and helpless he had 
been for four months or more, I naturally expected him to 
appear as most persons would under such circumstances, very 
woebegone and broken up. Not so at all ; on the contrary, 
he looked as brave and smiling and cheerful as if nothing at 
all troubled him. He could not rise, but he put out his left 
hand and tried to say something, which I interpreted to be his 
old familiar ' How are you, brother? ' Then, with a smile on 
his face, he pointed out of doors, and I knew he desired to 
call attention to the beautiful weather. Then he listened very 
attentively to something I had to say, he making no attempt 
to reply or say anything, except, perhaps, in monosyllables. 
He is an excellent listener. 



EUTHANASIA 345 

" Sothern, the actor, used to say, ' It's rather difficult for 
one bird to flock all by himself,' and likewise I soon found it 
rather difficult to carry on a conversation all by myself. But 
as soon as I stopped talking and the silence was becoming 
prolonged, a characteristic trait of Dr. Deems was manifested. 
How many times I have seen him come to the relief and tide 
over some embarrassing position or interval for others! On 
this occasion, as I sat there looking at him, not knowing just 
what next to say, suddenly there came a merry twinkle in his 
eye, and he straightened up as best he could and put on a 
very haughty, proud look, at the same time pointing alternately 
to his trousers and dressing-robe ; but the more I tried the less 
I seemed to comprehend what he desired me to understand 
by his pantomime and erratic jumble of sounds and syllables, 
which seemed to begin where they should leave oflf, and vice 
versa. At last, in semi-despair, he looked appealingly to ' little 
mother,' who was present, and she readily interpreted it, 
' He desires you to observe how he has come out in new 
Easter dress,' and explained that the garments were new and 
that it was the first time he had been dressed since Christ- 
mas. 

"After that he made several other attempts to say some- 
thing to me, and his face would light up with the greatest 
eagerness and anxiety in his effort and determination to over- 
come the bondage of his infirmity, but in the main they were 
failures. It was after one of these prolonged efforts, in which 
the wTiter and ' little mother,' to whom he invariably turned 
as his last resort, both failed, although we tried so hard 
to understand him, that he sank back exhausted by his effort 
and failure, and such a look of utter helplessness came over 
him, my emotions were almost beyond my control. I was 
trying to think of some word of sympathy, some word of 
cheer that would break the spell ; but my heart was too full to 
Utter words, and as I looked at him I saw a solitary tear drop 



346 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

from his half-closed eye. The silence was profound. It 
seemed to me something not unlike the agony of Jesus when 
he said, ' Father, if it be possible.' 

" It was at this supreme moment that out from the silence 
came four words, spoken very slowly, very solemnly, but withal 
very distinct : ' My— faith — hoUs — out.' That was Dr. Deems's 
Easter sermon. Whatever from my imperfect, weak portrayal 
it may appear to others, to me it was the grandest, the most 
glorious, the most impressive sermon of his life." 

About the middle of June the family moved to No. 145 
West Seventy-sixth Street, where Dr. Deems had every com- 
fort that loving hearts and hands could provide to soothe and 
sustain him. June 20th was a red-letter day for him and his 
good wife, for on that date their golden wedding was duly 
celebrated. Many visitors called at the house and left greet- 
ings of love. Early in the day the house became a perfect 
flower garden, and many beautiful golden gifts expressed the 
love of friends and relatives. Dr. Deems seemed to be given 
special strength for the occasion and entered into it with an 
enthusiasm which was to all a surprise. 

In July an effort was made to promote progress in his re- 
covery. Invited to visit Mr. John Inman's home at Stock- 
bridge, Mass., Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose visits and 
other kind attentions contributed so much to lessen the trials 
of Dr. Deems's last days, put his private car at his disposal. 
Accordingly on July 21st, accompanied by Mrs. Deems, Mrs. 
Verdery, and a nurse, he went to Stockbridge. So far from 
the journey on the train injuring the patient, it gave him evi- 
dent pleasure. But on the second day of his stay in the de- 
lightful and hospitable Inman home an internal complication 
set in, involving high fever and intense pain and endangering 
his life. Within a few days he was taken home, and after 
several weeks of extremely careful treatment was restored 
almost to his former condition, becoming strong enough in 



EUTHANASIA %4t'i 

time to take carriage rides and occasionally to take his meals 
in the dining-room with the family. 

During the fall months Dr. Deems was troubled more and 
more by depre.ssion, and doubtless was losing vitality. It was 
during the first days of November that a fresh internal com- 
plication set in, which, although not very painful, refused to 
yield to treatment and steadily drained away his strength until, 
after a heroic fight, his vitality was at last exhausted. 

During the Wednesday night preceding the end Dr. Deems 
several times made signs to his nurse by putting his hand up 
to his mouth as though in the act of drinking. Was it water 
that he wanted? "No." Was it one of his medicines? 
" No." Finally the nurse asked him if it was the communion 
that he wished. "Yes!" was indicated vigorously and with 
smiles and expressions of deep satisfaction. Accordingly, 
before breakfast Thursday morning, the family were assembled 
in the sick-room around his bed, and Dr. Deems's son Edward 
was about to commence the tender service, when his father 
had him wait, as he looked around the circle and managed to 
say, " Boy? " When the little grandson referred to was found 
and seated near his grandfather on the bed, a service of sur- 
passing tenderness and solemnity was held, the dying Christian 
joining in here and there with a word in the service that he 
could pronounce in the Lord's Prayer, the Gloria, and the 
benediction. There was no " scene " ; all was done simply, 
naturally ; but never will the participants forget that commu- 
nion with one who was so soon to see " the King in his beauty." 

Calling his faithful wife to his side early in the afternoon of 
the same day, he took her hand and gave her a look in which 
was not only recognition, but also unutterable affection, and 
then settled back on his couch. 

Dr. Arbuthnot wrote to Pope : " A recovery in my case and 
at my age is impossible ; the kindest wish of my friends is 
euthanasia," Ninety-eight years thereafter Lockhart, when 



348 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

speaking of the dying hours of his father-in-lav/, Sir Walter 
Scott, said : " Dr. Watson, having consulted on all things with 
Mr. Clarkson and his father, resigned the patient to them and 
returned to London. None of them could have any hope but 
that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer to be 
thought of, but there might be euthanasia." 

When Dr. Deems felt himself beginning to yield to the 
drowsiness of the last sleep on earth, he by word and sign gave 
Dr. Le Fevre, his devoted physician, whom he greatly loved, 
to understand that when he became unconscious it was his wish 
that no further attempts should be made to keep his body 
alive a few hours longer, that no hypodermics of stimulants be 
given, and no nourishment administered. He knew that he 
was falling asleep in death, that on earth he would awaken 
nevermore, and, could he have spoken plainly, he would have 
said simply this : " I know that I am dying ; recovery in my 
case and at my age is impossible ; all that mortal skill could 
do has been done. Let me sleep." He was told it should 
be as he wished. 

Not long after this he passed into sleep, and slept on for 
many hours ; and in that sleep the end came. Just as the 
clock struck ten on Saturday evening, November i8, 1893, his 
spirit disengaged itself from his body and returned to God, and 
one of the most useful, eloquent, lovable, and beloved of men, 
Charles Force Deems, was dead! Dead? How hard, how 
impossible, it was and is for those who loved him to realize it! 

The tidings of the death of the pastor of the Church of the 
Strangers spread rapidly through the land, and as they were 
received doubtless many a tear fell, in both high and low 
places, at the thought of the passing away of this wise, strong, 
holy, and lovable man. 

The funeral services were held Tuesday noon, November 
2ist, in his beloved Church of the Strangers, where for nearly 
a quarter of a century he had with such winning eloquence 



EUTHANASIA 349 

preached Christ as the Saviour of the world.* For two hours 
before the services began the body lay in state before his pulpit, 
and thousands of people of both sexes and all ages and classes 
looked for the last time upon the face of him whom they so 
deeply loved. Everything connected with the occasion was 
marked by a simplicity accordant with his tastes, unless one 
should take exception to the profusion of flowers which love 
insisted on offering. In his hand was a beautiful white rose, 
placed there by one of his children because at Dickinson 
College, in 1839, he had written in a poem dedicated to the 
white rose this stanza : 

" Rose of my love! when chilling death 
Shall freeze my heart with his icy breath, 
I would have thee then, companion meet, 
Wrapped in the folds of my winding-sheet." 

The church was filled to overflowing with people ; many 
stood out in Mercer Street, and many more turned sadly away, 
unable to gain entrance. The Rev. Joseph Merlin Hodson, 
who during most of Dr. Deems's illness, and for some 
months after his death, served the church as pastor, con- 
ducted the services. The faithful church choir sang, among 
other things. Dr. Deems's hymn, " The light is at the 
end." The Rev. William T. Sabine, D.D., offered a prayer 
which seemed inspired, it was so full of rich consolation 
in Christ Jesus. After a brief but most appropriate and 
tender address by the Rev. Mr. Hodson, the Rev, James M. 
Buckley, D.D., preached the sermon, a discourse never to be 
forgotten by those who heard it, because it was not only a 
just and eloquent tribute to the noble dead, but also an un- 
speakable comfort to the living.t The Rev. Amory H. Brad- 

* For the details of the funeral, including the addresses, the reader may 
see the New York daily papers for November 22, 1893; also the " Me- 
morial Number of 'Christian Thought,'" Fel)ruary, 1893, published by 
W. B. Ketcham, 2 Cooper Union, New York City. 

t See Appendix IL 



350 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

ford, D.D., who had known Dr. Deems long and intimately, 
and who had been so loyal to the American Institute of Chris- 
tian Philosophy, pronounced the benediction. Then followed 
the impressive masonic rites, conducted by Palestine Com- 
mandery of Knights Templars. And then, amid the suppressed 
sobs of his bereft people, the sainted pastor's precious body 
was borne out of the scene of his earthly labors to be laid to 
rest in the loving care of him who is able to keep until that 
day all that we commit to him.* 

At the lower end of Staten Island the still thickly wooded 
and picturesque hills fall abruptly for two thirds their height, 
and then gradually slope downward to the green meadows 
which extend to the south shore. On a plateau of this slope 
stands a large, square, white wooden building, the old Mora- 
vian church, venerable with years. On all sides of it rise the 
marble-covered hills. Immediately around the old church 
building, beneath evergreens over a century old, lie the " rude 
forefathers of the hamlet," with only a small square slab of 
stone laid flatwise over the breast. The prevailing prefix of 
" Van " leaves no doubt as to their original nationality, and 
among these is that of the Vanderbilt family, one of whom, 
Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the commodore, donated at one 
time fifty acres of land to the cemetery. 

Standing upon any one of the higher knolls of this ideal 
" God's-acre," and looking southward, one obtains an extensive 
and beautiful view. The little hamlet of New Dorp, with its 
quaint and scattered farm-houses, including the village post- 
office and blacksmith's shop, lies at the foot of the knoll. 
Beyond are the extensive flat lands, which gently slope to the 
south shore of the island, merging into the blue waters of the 
lower bay of New York and the silver gray of the broad At- 
lantic. At the right can be seen a sapphire strip of land 
known as Sandy Hook, with a stretch of the Jersey coast 
* For Memorials of Dr. Deems see Appendix III. 



EUTHANASIA 351 

beyond, while at the left there is a full view of Coney Island, 
with tlie highlands of Long Island stretching toward Green- 
wood and the city of Brooklyn, 

On the side nearest the sea is a smooth, grassy terrace, in 
the middle of which is Dr. Deems's family resting-place, a spot 
chosen by himself. No man could have been less influenced 
by material considerations than he ; yet he took great satisfac- 
tion in knowing that here he was to sleep until the Master 
whom he had served so long and well should bid him arise 
and be forever with the Lord. 

And so, upon that gray autumnal afternoon of Tuesday, 
November 21, 1893, Charles F. Deems was laid to rest there 
in sight of the great wide sea,— symbol of the infinite mercy of 
God,— laid to rest while awaiting the breaking of that resur- 
rection day, the contemplation of the glories of which once, 
while preaching, led him to break forth in this language of holy 
rhapsody : '' O morning! cloudless, tearless, brilliant, balmy, 
and everlasting! O men, O brothers! bear the weeping. The 
night is short; the morning comes. Break, O morning! break 
on the souls that are in the night of sin ; and on our graves 
break, O morning of the everlasting day I " 

" IN MEMORIAM 

" To Charles F. Deems 

" Friend of a lifetime! When, long years ago, 
We talked of death as of a legend thing 
That must perforce to others come, and bring 

New lessons and new skill wherewith to know 

Their meanings,— whether blent of joy or woe,— 
How full of life wert thou! how strong to wring 
Its secrets from the royal streams that spring 

In venturous thought or fancy's overflow! 
Ah, couldst thou not a little longer wait 

Thy lagging fellow-traveler on life's road, 



352 CHARLES FORCE DEEMS 

Now grown so weary? Thou dost ope the gate 
Too soon, that shuts the human path we trode. 
Thou taught'st me much of life to live — then why 
Couldst thou not stay and teach me how to die? 

" The voice we knew so well, whose vibrant tone 

The hearts of thousands thrilled ; 
The voice that challenged us to scorn, disown, 
All meaner aims, all selfishness bemoan — 

Ah, can a God have willed 

That voice like this be stilled? 

" The willing feet that trod in lingering pain, 

With humble, patient pace. 
Through haunts of misery and guilt ; that fain 
Would follow other wounded feet, whose stain 

On earth's paths left their trace — 

Have such feet run their race? 

" The flashing, subtle intellect, that saw 

How fittest to enshrine 
Its vivid imagery, was skilled to draw 
The lightning thought from heaven to earth by law 

Ineffable and fine — 

Gone magic so divine? 

" The heart that loved all noble love, that knew 
Fidelities untold, — 
Knew generous sacrifice for love, and drew 
From life and death the passion to be true 
To God, — can death enfold, 
Can heart like this be cold? 

•*A. M. N. 



APPENDIX 



COPY OF THE NOTES OF DR. DEEMS'S LAST SERMON 

"Col. iii. 1 6. The Word of Christ. Embodied in the 
Holy Scriptures, New Testament. Different ways of using 
the Word. i. Outside, as a rule for others, or instrument of 
compression for ourselves. 2. Inside. But it may ht poorly. 
(i) In the memory, undigested. (2) In partial influence on 
our lives. But the apostle's injunction is: i. It should 'keep 
house'; 2. It should 'keep house richly.' Each Christian an 
incarnated gospel. The doctrines of the gospel. The precepts 
of Christianity. The promises, all conditioned ; conditions ful- 
filled, promises enjoyed. That will take the world." 



II 

ADDRESS OF JAMES M. BUCKLEY, D.D., AT THE FUNERAL OF 
CHARLES F. DEEMS, D.D., TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1 893 

After an eloquent account of Christianity's view of hfe and 
death. Dr. Buckley proceeded as follows : 

" The question of the hour : What was the view of life and 
death held by him who is silent here for the first time? Did 

353 



354 APPENDIX 

he consider it to be transcendingly important that he should 
hve? Did he wish to die, or did he hold the exact view that 
Christianity requires — the view enforced and illustrated by 
Paul? Last Thanksgiving day Dr. Deems, with that bold 
hand which his friends recognize wherever they see it, wrote 
the name of a beloved child, and then, ' From her loving 
father.' The handwriting has outlived the hand, so frail is 
human life. It is a strange book — ' My Septuagint.* 

" ' The name of this book probably suggested itself to my 
mind because what it contains has been written since the 
LXXII. anniversary of my birthday. ..." How does a 
man feel at threescore years and ten?" I look into my 
heart and make the following additional response: I am not 
conscious of having any of those several symptoms which have 
generally been supposed to indicate old age, except the one 
pointed out by Solomon, " They shall be afraid of that which 
is high." I cannot climb as I once could. Four flights of 
stairs tire me very much, and I am sensible of a secret wish 
that all my dear parishioners and friends might live on the first 
floor. Otherwise, as I write to-day, with the splendor of this 
beautiful morning streaming into my study and lighting up the 
life-size portrait of my dear wife, who, by the way, has borne 
with my manners in this wilderness nine years longer than the 
Lord endured Israel, I do not feel any lessening of the abiHty 
of my body to give me pleasure. Yesterday three meals were 
eaten with as keen an appetite as the meals I took at college 
even on foot-ball days. I did more in the week preceding 
than in any week of my middle life, and last night for seven 
hours slept a sleep as sweet as that of my childhood. I enjoy 
beautiful sights— landscapes, lovely women and children, 
statuary and paintings — as much as I ever did in earlier life. 
I enjoy boys ; I love to see them at play, and when permitted 
to join them I enter into the plans and purposes of young 
people with zest.' 



APPENDIX 355 

" He was serious then, but he becomes more serious. 

" ' I find myself, I do believe, this day more willing to live 
and more willing to die than I ever did in any day before. I 
find myself concerned less with the past and less with the 
future than I ever was before. I have the abiding conviction 
that the best of all things is for me to live this day without 
stop, without haste, with all my power of doing and of enjoy- 
ing the things which God has given me. I have no intention 
ever to retire. Often, very, very weary, I think that if a 
syndicate were to offer me ten millions of dollars to take care 
of me the rest of my life, provided I would promise never 
again to speak in pubhc, never again to make an engagement, 
never again to take an appointment, and to resign now all the 
offices I hold in church, in school, and in society, I would re- 
fuse the ten millions, although I may not have ten months, or 
even ten days, to hve. . . . I sit in my study and talk to my 
heart and dictate these lines, and feel that I am approaching 
the experience of the Apostle Paul : " For me to live is Christ, 
and to die is gain." . . . Being assured of the immortality of 
my spirit because of my spiritual alliance with him, I have 
ceased to pray to be delivered from sudden death, which may 
be a blessing.' 

" Five days after having placed the book in the hand of his 
daughter his own suddenly refused to write. It was the be- 
ginning of the end. He then understood the true Christian 
theory of life, earnestly willing to live, earnestly willing to die, 
trustfully leaving it to him in whose hands, in the high and 
holy sense, are the issues of life and death. 

" Is a funeral eulogium in harmony with the spirit of Chris- 
tianity? If it is not, at this moment silence becomes us. Not 
only is it in harmony with the spirit of Christianity, but that 
spirit will pardon forgetfulness of the infirmities of those whom 
we know to have been true to it. Did not the friends of 
Dorcas assemble and speak of the wondrous work she had 



356 APPENDIX 

done? Did not St. Paul eulogize his friends who had passed 
away? Are there not many passages in the New Testament 
which are unquahfied eulogiums of the departed? But excess 
or indiscriminate praise,— to predicate of a person quahties he 
never possessed, and declare him a model in realms of thought 
and action which he never penetrated,— this is to degrade the 
memory of the deceased and to obscure that which the Holy 
Word characterizes thus : ' The memory of the just is blessed.' 
" Dr. Deems was the son and the grandson of a minister of 
the gospel. The influence of a profession where health and 
vigor are undisturbed by excess is often seen in descendants to 
the third and even the tenth generation. He was born with a 
susceptibility for that kind of excitement without which oratory 
is impossible. Nature qualified him for pecuhar success in any 
department in which effectiveness depends upon quick response 
to the changing moods of an audience and upon the adaptive 
facility which enables one, whatever the grade of intellect to 
which he speaks, to rise or to sink, not in moral tone, but in 
exquisite sensitiveness to the lights and shades of thought and 
expression in simplicity or complexity, according to the reflex 
influence which every word elicits from the assembly which he 
addresses. Without the call to the ministry he whose virtues 
we endeavor to portray this day might have made a lawyer of 
extraordinary success or a popular orator in the political world. 
He could hft the hand from the head of the sorrowing boy 
who wept because he should see his mother's face no more, and 
place it warm and sympathetic in the hand of the bride on her 
wedding-day. And quickly as he could turn from one to the 
other the appropriate word would flow to the hp, the tear to 
the eye. Those who knew not the man would say, ' This is 
superficial ; such fluctuations of feeling are impossible.' But 
he lived in the atmosphere of sympathy. He loved every 
human being ; therefore such transitions would ever move as 
rapidly as his thought, feeling, and sense could correspond to 



APPENDIX 357 

the necessity. He was a scientist— not as an expert, but as a 
lover and student. He was once professor of natural science 
in an important college, and succeeded admirably therein. 
But at the end of one year he said, ' There is not sufficient 
play for my emotions here. Oftentimes I wish to trace the 
wonders of God in the natural world and declare that there 
only a part of the Deity is known, and point to Christ, in whom 
the whole Deity is known.' ' But,' he said, ' I am not employed 
for that,' and so he resumed the ministry. 

" He was a journalist, but his efforts were all in the realm 
of morality and patriotism and good things. He would have 
been out of place upon some papers and magazines; would 
have embarrassed gready the management, and would have 
needed constant supervision. Everything that he did in the 
department of education was to promote Christian education. 
He appreciated highly the State. He regarded it as of great 
importance with respect to the higher education. He had no 
sympathy with one of his intimate friends who would restrict 
the education provided by the State to the elements, but plac- 
ing upon individuals the necessity of gaining the higher edu- 
cation ; but he beheved that denominational education was 
essential to supplement the State, because it would be impossi- 
ble to have a rehgious institution governed exclusively by the 
State, and it would be impossible to have a thoroughly effec- 
tive Christian institution without a denominational center. 
Therefore he used his influence mightily to induce his friends 
to contribute largely to the establishment of great religious 
universities. 

" As a lecturer he was unquestionably unique. Almost any 
good speaker can preach, especially if called unto that voca- 
tion. But to be able to prtach and to lecture! He could 
preach as well as he could lecture, and to lecture until the 
whole assembly burst into peals of laughter or thunders of ap- 
plause, and yet never utter a word which would in any degree 



358 APPENDIX 

militate against his influence or detract from it if he were to rise 
and begin a rehgious service before the same audience— to do 
that is an astonishing power, and that he possessed. When at 
his best on the lecture platform, without one word on the sub- 
ject of religion he moved men in that direction. When from 
any cause he was less effective in the pulpit than usual there 
was still a deep undertone of power, which caused men to for- 
get every departure from any particular canon of pulpit rhetoric 
or pulpit elocution. 

" Graduated from an important institution of learning and 
afterward a professor, he rose triumphant above that formal 
adherence to the peculiarities or manners of professors, which 
has ruined so many persons of briUiant talent. The forthgoing 
of his personality was less obstructed than that of any public 
man probably in this metropolis. It was a peculiar charm. 
You felt it in the car, in the counting-room, as really as in the 
church. He was magnetic, with the magnetism of an honest 
man's personality coming out at the ends of his fingers, giving the 
peculiar vibration to his voice, sparkling in his eye. He may 
speak or be silent, but where he is it comes forth and is felt. 
Why consume time taken from many cares to say that such a 
man was a philanthropist? Without that all would have fallen 
away and he would have been simply one of those cheerful 
men who go to and fro. His presence would have dehghted 
every one, but it would not have affected any one except as 
the song of one that singeth well or as the mere sound of a 
lute across the water in a quiet evening. Fraternity is one of 
the branches of philanthropy. There can be no fraternity 
without a philanthropic heart. Men without that may observe 
the etiquette of fraternity, but the soul is not there. 

" He was a reformer who never lost either his head or his 
heart. Some lose their heads; they will die for a pin as 
quick as for a post, and all their days fritter away their efforts 
in attempting the unattainable and in denouncing all who do 



APPENDIX 359 

not attempt it with them. It was not so with him. Others 
lose their hearts, and they look upon one thing until it assumes 
proportions of unreal magnitude, and declare that their reform 
is more important even than the church of God. Not so with 
him. He loved institutions of different kinds. He had a sym- 
pathy with orders, but one of the most splendid passages that 
ever fell from his lips was this : ' No society, moral or philan- 
thropic, purely of human origin, is to be compared with or 
substituted for the church of Jesus Christ. Nay,' said he, 
waxing eloquent, ' the best of them are at the nadir, while the 
church of the living God, founded by him and built by Jesus 
Christ, is at the zenith, and ever it will remain.' Yet this day 
a demonstration will be seen that he, with those noble views of 
the relation of purely human eiTorts to the church of Christ, 
was full of sympathy with the former while giving reverence 
and supreme devotion only to the latter. 

"A peculiar question relating to the Civil War should not 
be passed unnoticed. He was an ardent Union man. His 
heart nearly broke when his State decided to secede, but his 
creed, with respect to his relations to the country, believed as 
conscientiously as it is possible for a man to beheve anything, 
consisted of three requirements, in this order : his first duty is to 
his family ; his second duty is to his State ; his third duty is to 
the federal government. What man is there who observes that 
nearly every decision of the Supreme Court of the United States 
has a powerful dissenting minority, so that we expect to see as 
great men if not greater men than the propounder of an opin- 
ion declaring his mistake to be serious, contrary to history, and 
in its consequences awful, who will yet say that Dr. Deems, after 
his training, education, and environment, could not conscien- 
tiously beheve that it was his duty to go with his State? But 
how went he with his State? To promote cruelty, perfidy, 
treachery? By no means. He gave his eldest son, and the 
boy was killed at Gettysburg in 1863. Had our friend been 



360 APPENDIX 

destitute of that spirit of philanthropy which overleaped all 
bounds, he, like some others, would never liave communed 
with those who directly or indirectly robbed him of his son, his 
beloved son, his first-born. But no. He could recognize in 
us what he claimed for himself, and thus, coming in the spirit 
of fraternity, the spirit of a reunited country, to our city, he 
began the career which to attempt its description would be to 
insult the inteUigence and the knowledge of those who are here 
to-day. 

" He united the abstract and the concrete in a wonderful 
manner. Many philosophers are useless in private or public 
hfe. They are mere phantoms except in their libraries. Others 
have no philosophy and waste their days in detail. He was a 
philosopher in the breadth of his thought, but he promoted and 
he proposed practical things. He was the founder of the 
American Institute of Christian Philosophy and the editor of 
its organ, ' Christian Thought,' until his death, though for 
some time obliged to avail himself of the aid of a most valu- 
able coadjutor, the Rev. Mr. Devins, who during all his sick- 
ness has conferred with him and brought forth the work so that 
those who read it find in each succeeding number something 
worthy of careful attention. 

" He was without doubt a complacent man. There are 
those who misunderstand the relation of complacency to piety. 
They think that it is necessary for a person to declare himself 
a worm of the dust in order to have a hope in heaven. The 
artist may receive the congratulations of his friends ; nay, more, 
he may exhibit his work. The lawyer may be told of his ex- 
traordinary addresses at the bar, and it is perfectly proper. 
The merchant may be praised by a great assembly, who will 
look upon him as a kind of demigod, and none condemn either 
him or them. But if a Christian, if a minister, dare to show 
any complacency, many will say that he is a man of ' Hke pas- 
sions ' with the world. And so the apostles declared they were 



APPENDIX 361 

when men undertook to worship them. David was one of the 
most complacent men that ever Hved, They would be un- 
worthy a place in the canon had they not expressed the same 
complete self-consciousness of his spirit. 

" This book begins with a dedication to seventy men de- 
parted this hfe. [His book.] Were I to read these names 
tears would come to many an eye, for the sons and the grand- 
sons are here. At the thought of a similar day in their experi- 
ence to that experienced this day by these bereaved children, 
their attention would be distracted from the occasion of tlie 
hour. But it implies a species of complacency for a man to 
print seventy names of honored men among his friends ; yet 
he earned their friendship by good deeds, kind words. It was 
right for him to be complacent. But in the depth of his soul 
he was most humble. Hear this prayer of his, side by side 
with one of his most complacent utterances : 

" ' Oh, nail it to thy cross, 

My wretched carnal pride, 
Which glories in its rags and dross, 

And knows no wealth beside : 
There let it surely die ; 

But let my spirit be 
Lifted, to sit with thee on high 

And sweet humility.* 

" Such complacency is not degrading, but elevating. It is 
the complacency of Paul, who said when he came to die, ' I 
am now ready to be offered,' contrasted with the chief of sin- 
ners that he called himself all his life, ' and the time of my 
departure is at hand. There remains for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give 
me at that day.' Not a crown of humility, but a crown of 
justice in the economy of grace. So that the cry is, ' Thanks 
be to God for his unspeakable gift.' 

" A long and terrible fight was that in the sick-room. A 



362 APPENDIX 

man who was never sick, who divided his life into decades 
after he was sixty, and gave ten years to the need of the 
American Institute and proposed to give ten years more to a 
certain subject upon which he conversed with his friends, and 
then, fancying that he might live longer, said, ' Should I live 
still longer, I hope to start another enterprise'— this man 
eleven long months in his sick-room! Still he was the pastor 
of a church. How did the good man meet his fate? 

" There is a tendency on the part of friends to make every- 
thing beautiful in the dying Christian. Our power of discern- 
ment fails when our friends are so helpless that they cannot 
speak for themselves, and so it would be suitable to breathe a 
prayer to almighty God that no exaggeration in the eulogist 
should here check the flow of respect, admiration, and even 
veneration. 

" His industry never flagged. He had his office desk 
brought to his home in order that he might work in his accus- 
tomed way when he was barely able to sit up. The day before 
his final attack he sat at his desk arranging his papers and lay- 
ing out his correspondence for the following day ; and much, 
if not most, of his correspondence was helpful, and scarce any 
of it ever asked for help — never for himself. 

" His appreciative disposition shone out beautifully, always, 
through his manifold gratitude for the service of those of least 
kindred to him. No man ever loved his grandchildren more 
than he. He spoke of them as ' my little host of grandchil- 
dren.' Truly he was blessed in them. His physician never 
left his bedside, so I am informed by those who would not 
misrepresent, without his blessing him, and he would some- 
times, when he could not speak, kiss the hand of his faithful 
nurse for some act of thoughtful attention. 

" His patience never failed. He uttered no word, made no 
sign of complaint, but in hours of extremest affliction, though 
his great physical depression often affected the flow of spirits, 
he said over and over agam, ' He doeth all things well.' 



APPENDIX 363 

" His interest in all things touching the world was keen to 
the very last. His first inquiry of young men who came to 
see him was, ' Tell me the news.' His patriotism lost none of 
its ardor, even during his last sickness. When Congress was 
convened in extra session he said the day it met, ' Oiu- Presi- 
dent! what a responsibility! I pray for him to-day.' His 
humor was never diminished by either suffering or helplessness. 
He was unable to speak. It was a great day in that house 
when he could repeat a whole sentence, and once he was so 
pleased that he repeated it again and smiled when his family 
applauded him as though he were receiving the applause of an 
audience. How pathetic! One day, when it was almost im- 
possible for him to articulate, he made a great effort and said, 
'Well, well! I am not on speaking terms with my friends.' 
Think what being on speaking terms with them had meant for 
him so many years. Every Sunday but three during his entire 
sickness he selected and sent to this congregation a scriptural 
text for their comfort and spiritual upbuilding. His trust in 
God sustained him to the uttermost. Throughout his sickness 
his testimony was, ' My faith holds out,' and just before con- 
sciousness failed he said, ' At evening time there is light.' 

" I almost tremble to say to you that a little while before the 
last attack he looked at the clock, unable to speak, looked at 
his son-in-law, who with his wife and their children ministered 
to him through these months, and significantly shook his head, 
which was interpreted to mean that he would do well to stay. 
He looked at her who then responded to that homely but 
homeful word 'wife.' He gazed so wistfully, and then he 
looked at his son-in-law so intelligently, and at his daughter so 
significantly, that they could not but gather his meaning to be, 
'Will you take care of her? ' They assured him that needed 
no assurance, and a sweet smile of satisfaction rested upon his 
face. . , . 

" These friends need no commiserating words from me. In 
the deep sea of their grief that they shall see his face no more 



364 APPENDIX 

they could not bear congratulatory words. He renounced in 
dying what he would have been so glad to have done for you 
first. You could smile upon him and read to him and do so 
much for him. How he longed to be able to do it for you! 
Let at least this gleam of comfort shine upon you in your dark- 
ness while you try, perhaps in vain, to behold the light this day 
of a father's face (yet I would fain hope that you possess the 
spiritual experience and power which will enable you to count 
his body among the things that are seen, but his spirit among 
the things that are not seen, and thus triumph over the afiflic- 
tion of the hour) ; but as a faint gleam of light remember that 
you had the privilege of comforting him in the hour and the 
extremity of death." * 



III 

MEMORIALS 

The breadth of Dr. Deems's sympathies, and the hold on 
men's respect and affection which he had gained while living, 
were made evident after his decease not only by the resolutions 
of various societies and institutions already referred to, but also 
by the memorial services which were held in different parts of 
the land and by the erection of the Deems Memorial Chapel. 

On the very day of the funeral a service in commemoration 
of Dr. Deems was conducted in the chapel of the University 
of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, when President George 
T. Winston, at whose suggestion it was held, presided. A 
memorial service was held in the Church of the Strangers on 
December 14, 1893, and still another in the auditorium of 
Prohibition Park, Staten Island, on Sunday afternoon, June 14, 

* The above extract is from the " Memorial Number of Christian 
Thought," February, 1894. 



APPENDIX 365 

1 896. The dedication of the Deems Memorial Chapel occurred 
at Prohibition Park, Staten Island, on Sunday, May 24, 1896. 
This beautiful chapel was erected to Dr. Deems's memory by 
the members of the Prohibition Park Young People's Society 
of Christian Endeavor, 

The most important of the memorial services was that which 
was held in the Church of the Strangers on December 14, 1893, 
about one month after Dr. Deems's death. The Rev. Joseph 
Merhn Hodson, D.D., acting pastor at the time, presided.* 
After the singing of the hymn "Abide with me," Chancellor 
MacCracken, of the University of the City of New York, read 
the Scriptures. Bishop Fowler, of the Methodist Church, then 
offered prayer. Brief addresses, full of respect, tenderness, 
and affection for Dr. Deems, were made by the Rev. Drs. 
Thomas Armitage, of the Baptist Church, and Amory H. 
Bradford, pastor of the First Congregational Church, Mont- 
clair, N. J., successor to Dr. Deems as president of the Ameri- 
can Institute of Christian Philosophy, Ex-Mayor Abram S. 
Hewitt, and Mr. Marion J. Verdery, a son-in-law of Dr. 
Deems. This deeply interesting service was closed appro- 
priately by the singing of Dr. Deems's comforting and inspiring 
hymn, " The hght is at the end." 

* A few months later the Rev. Dr. Hodson became pastor of the Ford- 
ham Heights Reformed Dutch Church. After having had their pulpit 
supplied by various clergymen for over two years, the Church of the 
Strangers finally gave a hearty call to the Rev. D. Asa Blackburn, pastor 
of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Charleston, S. C, to become 
their pastor. He accepted the call, was installed May 5, 1895, and 
under his earnest and able ministrations the church is to-day a living, 
growing power for good in New York City. 



LIBRARY 

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